Punters assessing form should dismiss the last two runs of Wauchope five-year-old mare Stop The Fight in the Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1250m at Taree on Monday.
Trainer Colt Prosser said the last two runs were out of character and the mare has worked well since.
Prosser thought so highly of her form that he took her to Sydney for a Highway race over 1400m at Randwick but the trip was a disaster.
“She didn’t handle the trip, played up and melted in the traffic,” he said.
“At her next start she was still flat from the Sydney experience.
“I have freshened her up and (Port Macquarie jockey Peter Graham) was happy with her in work early in the week.
Stop The Fight has only had 27 starts for three wins and 10 placings and can settle just behind the pace in a pretty even field.
Port trainer Margaret De Gonneville believes her six-year-old gelding Gold Beret is overdue for a win after seconds behind Floral One and Written Song.
The gelding had to be scratched from Tuncurry’s TAB meeting last Friday when it got a leg caught in the starting barriers, but “he is good as gold…not a mark on him.”
“My horse has been very consistent and a real bread and butter commodity,” she said.
“He is fit as a fiddle and an easy horse to look after. When he was born the stud didn’t think much of him but he has grown and is pretty handy.”
In an open race, one of the hardest to beat will be last-start Kempsey winner, four-year-old mare Jawdaa, trained at Port by Neil Godbolt.
Aiding Jawdaa’s good cruising speed out front is that she is coming back from 1450m at Kempsey to 1250m.
At one stage last start she led by about six lengths and held off fast finishers by just under a length.
Jockey Belinda Hodder said he was ”just too classy…I am surprised they allowed me to lead.”
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees, fresh from a winning treble at Tuncurry last Friday, has four-year-old gelding Clevanicc ticking along nicely with a win three starts back at Tamworth and a fourth at Hawkesbury last start to suggest the galloper is in the mix.
Wyong mare Stradance, trained by Mark Cross, will appreciate the drop in class after some good runs at the provincials.