Michael Byers-trained Groomaze to have one final run in Port Macquarie before heading to the stables in North Queensland

Michael Byers had every intention of getting rid of Groomaze out of the stable and sending her to north Queensland until she ran second to Blinkin Rules in a desperately close photo finish at Port Macquarie last Saturday.

Now he plans to keep her and she backs up in the Schweppes Benchmark 55 (1200m) at Port Macquarie on Monday with Robert Thompson to again ride her.

“She is seven years old and I thought her days of being competitive around here were behind her,” Byers said.

“Last Saturday was supposed to be her last start for me but how can you move her on when she runs a race like that.

“I thought she had won and I had another look at the video and thought the same thing.

“It was a deceptive finish.”

Groomaze hit the lead inside the last 200 metres but Blinkin Rules finished hard down the outside to grab the lead on the line.

The pair clash again but while Blinkin Rules has gone up 2kgs Groomaze only goes up half a kilogram.

Claiming apprentice Alena Skerritt has retained the ride on Blinkin Rules.

“This race is similar in quality to the other day and while she has drawn wide I know Robert will find a way to overcome that,” Byers said.

“She has pulled up well and is eating well so why not back her up in what looks like a winnable race.”

Byers and his wife own the mare and despite their initial decision to move her on they have a soft spot for her.

“She was with another trainer and given to us by friends of a friend who could not afford to keep paying the fees,” he said.

“She had a few issues when she came to me but we sorted those out and she has really paid her way.

“We have put a pool in the backyard from her winnings and at present she is paying for a new kitchen so we need another win from her.”

Grahame’s tips:

Race 1-1.35, DE BORTOLI WINES 3YO MAIDEN, 1200m: ARABIAN DANCER 1, Kijito 2, Enrico 3, Prickles 4.

Race 2-2.10, PURNOS ON THE BEACH MAIDEN, 1110m: KATAKANA 1, Morning Fare 2, The Blues Brother 3, Nickernut 4.

Race 3-2.45, DORVIK PORT MACQUARIE BENCHMARK 60, 1512m: ZOMBIE QUEEN 1, Slade Amigos 2, Star Of Legs 3, Me Mongo 4.

Race 4-3.20, OXLEY COVE APARTMENTS MAIDEN, 1512m: FRATELLINO 1, Push The Sky Away 2, Night Thief 3, Prince Nevaux 4.

Race 5-3.55, CARLTON MID CLASS ONE AND MAIDEN, 2020m: CHOSEN PRINCE 1, Ultimate Decision 2, Meishou 3, Charlie Royale 4.

Race 6-4.35, HIRE PORT BENCHMARK 70, 2020m: QUARTERMASTER 1, New Divide 2, Malleable 3, Lethal 4.

Race 7-5.15, ANDREW’S CARPET CLEANING CLASS ONE, 1010m: BLACKRIDGE 1, Djerassi 2, Relaxing To Win 3, Stop The Fight 4.

Race 8- 5.50, SCHWEPPES BENCHMARK 55, 1200m: GROOMAZE 1, Lunar De Hero 2, Blinkin Rules 3, Desert Land 4.

Best Bets: Katakana, Blackridge.

Heading for home: Hippy Hi Ho rounds the bend in Port Macquarie last month.

Heading for home: Hippy Hi Ho rounds the bend in Port Macquarie last month.

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