The name of Wilkes is synonymous in Australian horse racing folklore and a highly accomplished mid north coast trainer bearing the same name could well create a small piece of history in the $150,000 Mid North Coast Country Championship Qualifier at Port Macquarie on Sunday.
Popular Taree mentor, Wayne Wilkes, has nominated five horses for the event in the shape of Lucciola Belle, Subtle Grey, Good Excuse, Monaco Sniper and Bellastar, with all having good credentials depending upon the declaration of the final field.
Lucciola Belle raced consistently when last in work with a highlight being a solid placing in a highway event at Rosehill when defeated around a length by Tristan de Angel.
The reports were the Casino Prince mare had returned to training bigger and stronger with this being evidenced by an impressive barrier trial return at Taree before a first-up victory in the $60,000 Queen of the North on the Port track last month.
Lucciola Belle won the blue-ribbon feature with great authority in accounting for Valree and Dual Escape after settling just off the speed before flashing down the outside to land the prize.
It was a confident ride by Andrew Gibbons on that occasion and he retains the mount in Sunday’s district qualifier assignment.
Stablemate and Lucciola Belle’s half-sister is Monaco Sniper with the lightly raced gelding responsible for a sound second behind No Qualm in the recent Class 4 Championship Preview on the track.
The son of Six Gauge broke his maiden status at Taree in January before stepping up to class two company when beaten just over a length by Eyebea Danser.
The preview run under class four conditions at Port indicated the ability and potential of Monaco Sniper with the horse certainly possessing a live chance if given the opportunity to start.
Good Excuse is a filly who has raced on six occasions for two wins and a similar number of placings including successive victories at Port and Taree when previously in work.
The daughter of One Wink will derive a great deal of benefit from the recent outing on the Port track in the event won by Typhoon Bonny and does have a strong record over the distance of the weekend assignment.
Other stable hopes include Subtle Grey, who presents for the race following two wins from his past three starts at Taree while Bellastar resumed from a spell with a Taree maiden victory a couple of weeks ago, but would need luck to access a start.
So, the Wilkes name could feature prominently in Sunday’s Country Championship Qualifier with the top two representing the district in the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championship Final at Randwick on April 6.