PORT Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham and Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson were highlights in notching winning doubles at Manning Valley Race Club's TAB meeting on a good track at Taree on Monday.
Both of Graham's winners, The Drake ($4.60) in the Mid Coast Automotive Benchmark 66 Handicap over 1007m and Magnalane ($1.85) in the Thank You All Emergency Services CG&E Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1257m, were impressive in scoring by over two lengths.
Five-year-old gelding The Drake, ridden by Wauchope's Belinda Hodder, is owned by a syndicate of Port and Sydney owners, who banded together to race the galloper after it failed to reach a reserve price.
Breeder and head-owner, Billy Wilson, of Port, said The Drake played up in Sydney but had settled down better in its "country environment.
"Bringing him up here is probably a blessing in disguise because he has always shown ability," he said.
Hodder echoed his sentiments saying: "He (The Drake) was a good boy today...daylight second."
The Smart Missile gelding registered his third win at start 18 and will be kept for local country races.
Four-year-old gelding Magnalane, ridden by Newcastle and NSW's leading jockey Aaron Bullock, was bred by part owner Gerry Van Kerkhoff and was transferred from a Wyong trainer to Graham to be aimed at the rich Country Championships.
The gelding was having its third of nine starts for Graham and came from mid-field to score impressively.
Bullock said Magnalane was "nice and relaxed" and could get 1300m or 1400m.
Gosford trainer Ken Parker was happy to have five-year-old mare Hasty Heart ($5) overcome some bad luck in races to score under Thompson by a half-length in the Thank You Marine Rescue F&M Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1257m.
"She should have won her last start at Scone," Parker said.
"She has had six or seven starts for me and has always shown abiliy.
"As soon as Robert eased her out on the turn I knew she would be hard to hold out.
"The distance was a query but I put RT on when I can as he rides her quiet."
Thompson's other winner was on his old mate, Taree trainer Ross Stitt's five-year-old gelding Pinnacle Power ($4.80 to $2.80) which lived up to a slashing jump out to score by 1.6 lengths in the Thank You Rural Fire Service CG&E Maiden Handicap over 1312m.
The gelding was having its 25th start for its first win, having had eight placings, all at Taree, the win taking prizemoney to $46,000.
Stitt said: "I bought him for $15,000 as a yearling but he has been a bit iffy sound wise.
"On his work, he should be winning better handicap races."
A pretty smart type was unearthed with the dominant 2.5 length win of former New Zealand four-year-old gelding Genghis Khan ($2.15) having its first start in Australia for Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer and a syndicate of owners headed by Wayne Turner in the TAB.Com.Au Maiden Plate over 1614m.
Turner said the gelding, the only ride for Newcastle jockey Samantha Clenton, was destined to be a handy middle distance galloper.
"We have some new owners in the ownership and Genghis Khan was brought over from New Zealand for the better prizemoney," he said.
Three-year-old filly Light Of Uluru ($8), trained at Wyong by Kim Waugh and ridden by Grant Buckley, won with authority in the Thank You NSW Ambulance SVC F&M Maiden Handicap over 1312m after coming to Taree rather than two other meetings she was nominated for.
Newcastle jockey Andrew Gibbons made up for a string of placings with an easy nearly four lengths win on four-year-old mare Alam Mo Na ($1.60), trained at Newcastle by Kris Lees, in the Thank You NSW Police Class 1 & Maiden Plate over 2018m.
Racing returns to Taree on Sunday, December 22, for the Summer Cup TAB meeting.