Racing in Port Macquarie today

PORT Macquarie trainer Neil Godbolt has been handed yet another challenge by Emirates Park in the form of Shamekha's Choice which will start in the Romak/Bremick Fastners Maiden at his home track today.

The four-year-old was previously trained by Team Hawkes and after winning successive trials at Rosehill and Randwick last year as a three year old made his debut in a maiden at Gosford.

He started favourite in a small field but ran last and was spelled.

"They brought him back into work then turned him out again before sending him up to me about two and a half months ago," Godbolt said.

"He is a nice enough horse without being anything outstanding and his work has been reasonable without setting the world on fire."

Emirates Park offered Shamekha's Choice at the 2010 Easter Yearling Sale with a reserve of $500,000 but when bidding fell just short, at $490,000, took him home to race him under the stud's banner.

He is by Redoute's Choice from the Group One winning mare Shamekha which was trained by Gai Waterhouse to win $1.9 million in prize money.

Her wins included the Group One All Aged Stakes, the Group One Coolmore Classic, the Group Two Tea Rose Stakes and the Group Three Furious Stakes.

Unfortunately she does seem to have passed that ability on to her progeny and her three other foals to race have hardly set the world on fire either.

Today's meeting, sponsored by the Master Builders Association, is the first at Port Macquarie since the cup carnival and owners and trainers have responded with massive acceptances, forcing the club to divide the Benchmark 50 (1206m) and extend the program to nine races.

"Our ground staff have spent the break renovating the racing surface and pouring water into the track during the dry spell," the club's chief executive officer, Michael Bowman, said.

"There are still one or two small patches which need some extra work but the track really looks good.

"We have gone through a dry spell but the minute we return to racing we get some rain."

However the track yesterday was rated a dead 4, almost ideal conditions.

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