Local gallopers look poised to win the feature $32,000 Hopkins Livermore Cup (1400m) at Manning Valley Race Club's TAB meeting at Taree on Friday.
They include five-year-old gelding Editors, trained by Ross Stitt, and two from the Wayne Wilkes stable in six-year-old grey gelding Subtle Grey and five-year-old gelding Party Host.
Stitt's Blinkin Artie was beaten a half-length by Newcastle's Marathon in this race last year and Editors will need a reversal of form to win.
But the winner of six races from 29 starts, two here at the distance, is certainly capable on his day.
"He never went a yard...didn't put in last start," Stitt said of the gelding's 13th (beaten 11.65 lengths) in the Coffs Harbour Cup over 1600m.
"I have found nothing amiss...he is bright and he likes the track and distance."
Punters should take into account the win of Editors over 1600m at Gosford in April.
Probable pacemaker is Subtle Grey which likes to be up on the pace and came from third on the bend to score by 1.4 lengths over 1600m in the Wingham Cup at this track on June 7.
He races well fresh and could add to his three wins and two seconds from seven starts at Taree.
Two seconds at Gosford and Newcastle at its two previous starts hold Party Host in good stead and he has placed here at the distance.
Coffs Harbour trainer Jim Jarvis has six-year-old gelding Evopex in fine fettle with a win in the Maclean Cup over 1400m and then a fourth to Love Shack Baby in the $152,000 Coffs Harbour Cup over 1600m.
Jarvis said he was happy with his gelding and the 1400m was around its best.
Mystery galloper is former overseas six-year-old gelding Venezuela (IRE) which in five starts has won twice and been runner-up once, one of the wins being at Kyneton over 1850m in April.
Wyong trainer Kim Waugh has engaged top country jockey Andrew Gibbons and in two trials it won at Wyong and was fourth at Gosford.
Stitt has a host of runners on the two days of the Taree Gold Cup Carnival and he usually gets a winner or two, he this time using his old friend jockey Robert Thompson and Brooke Stower on his horses.
- Doug Ryan's selections:
- RACE 1: Mummentum 1, Trajection 2, Sparkling Rose 3.
- RACE 2: The Memory Man 1, Animate 2, Alshahhad 3.
- RACE 3: Veganza 1, Dreamfyre 2, Villarrica 3.
- RACE 4: Royal Eclipse 1, Emperor Star 2, Dizzy Miss Lizzy 3.
- RACE 5: Saint Denis 1, Sir Leo 2, Sheeran 3.
- RACE 6: Heredero 1, Storm Attack 2, Funky Music 3.
- RACE 7: Editors 1, Subtle Grey 2, Party Host 3.
- RACE 8: Impulsive Maneuver 1, Fanciful Dream 2, Princess Snowy 3.