Miss Tickles and Glitra progressed to the Port Macquarie Cup after battling out a thrilling finish in the Stowe Australia Cup Prelude.
Belinda Hodder decided to go for home on Miss Tickles and was able to stave off the challenge of Glitra for a decisive win with the pre-post favourite, Egyptian Ruler an encouraging third.
Last year’s prelude winner, Sofin ran an even race behind the placegetters after being trapped wide in the middle parts of the race and should be in a position to defend her cup title in two weeks.
The success of Miss Tickles continued the wonderful journey enjoyed by Cessnock trainer, John Bannister with the mare who has now won at Hawkesbury, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie over the last couple of months.
A strong crowd witnessed racing under fine skies and a good track with the club hoping for continuing favourable conditions as the cup carnival culminates in two weeks’ time.
Other highlights on the program were training doubles to Allan Denham and Angela Davies while riding honours were shared by Ben Looker and Blaike McDougall.
A reminder that all roads lead to Port Macquarie for a magnificent day of Showcase racing on October 6 with the highlight being the $150,000 Carlton Draught Port Cup and minimum prizemoney for support races increased to $30,000 per race.
Total prizemoney for the day has climbed to a massive $390,000 and the cup is complimented by a $50,000 feature sprint.
Nominations close on October 2 at 11am with Racing NSW and the carnival concludes with Steeline race day on October 7.
Race 1 Lear & Smith Port Macquarie Maiden Plate 1506m
After two encouraging placings at Tamworth recently, Miss Kyeema gave punters no cause for fear with a comprehensive victory in the opening event.
Continuing on from a successful day at Scone on Friday popular apprentice, Louise Day positioned the short-priced favourite perfectly off the speed and gained the run to race away for a five length win.
The Denman filly deserved to break through and continues the great run enjoyed by Newcastle trainer, Kris Lees, who is a regular visitor to the track.
The Stephen Farley trained gelding, If By Chance, set the early speed before being headed by Peter Graham with a genuine tempo aboard Field Helmet, but neither were a match for the ultimate winner.
Race 2 NHP F&M Maiden Handicap 1106m
After the Neil Godbolt trained galloper, Our Trolley Dolly missed the start, Beebeau led the race early before being challenged and headed by Cejay Graham aboard Accolations.
The debutant, Tycoon Street was positioned just off the speed with the Zizou filly, Tootz cluttered up on the inside and Classy Anna midfield off the rails.
While the run presented for Tycoon Street in the straight, the same couldn’t be said for Aaron Bullock aboard Tootz, who had to angle back to the inside.
With plenty of challengers in the run to the judge, Ben Looker came right down the outside aboard the favourite, Classy Anna to streak away for victory.
The Allan Denham trained filly proved the benefit of her debut run at Tamworth two weeks ago for a solid win over Tootz, who looked a little unlucky, while the performance of Our Trolley Dolly was encouraging.
Race 3 Stowe Poles & Wires CG&E Maiden Handicap 1106m
The trainer and jockey combination of Allan Denham and Ben Looker made it back to back wins when the Denman gelding, Myambat, sailed away for a five-length victory.
With support from $12 to $9.50, Looker was able to sail past the former Victorian gelding, Chief Moondance, early in the event and set a genuine tempo with Hilfiger on the outside of Usainly.
The opposition couldn’t match Myambat’s sectionals and had to be content with placings, with an incident at the start resulting in one of the favourite runners, Shepley being declared a late scratching.
Race 4 www.stoweaustralia.com.au Class 1 Handicap 1206m
In a wide betting market which resulted in $5 the field being offered by bookmakers, equal favourite The Baker saluted following a positive ride from Blaike McDougall.
The patience and perseverance of Gosford trainer, Angela Davies, was on display with the lightly raced Charge Forward gelding having five starts for two wins over spaced intervals.
Serious Star dictated terms early before being headed by Mamzar with Kennie Colleen while Paco Express parked off the pace and Libertine Miss was trapped wide.
McDougall was positioned behind other horses on the point of the turn before obtaining runs and racing clear over the concluding stages.
The former Victorian, Paco Express, didn’t look at ease on the Port Macquarie track and will derive a great deal of benefit from the outing, while the run of Libertine Miss was solid after being caught deep.
Race 5 NHP Electrical Engineering Products BM 60 Hcp 1206m
In a day of race to race doubles, Angela Davies and Blaike McDougall enjoyed success when the hot favourite Dylan’s Dynasty saluted over I’m Danny and Hippy Hi Ho.
Olivia Pickering aboard I’m Danny had no hesitation in taking the 10-year-old gelding to the front early over Mellore and Harvard Graduate with the ultimate winner, Dylan’s Dynasty perfectly positioned enjoying the run of the race.
Punters who continued to back the ultimate winner from $1.90 to $1.60 had little cause for fear as McDougall came sailing down the outside for an impressive win.
The Manton gelding, Hippy Hi Ho was responsible for an improved performance while Curley Mac was trapped wide early and finished worse than midfield.
Race 6 Stowe Australia Port Macquarie Cup Prelude 1812m
With so much on offer including exemption from ballot for the approaching Port Cup for the first two placegetters, the prelude resulted in a narrow victory to Miss Tickles over Glitra.
The Ken Lantry gelding, Egyptian Ruler, was sent out the best supported runner at $4.80 and was camped just behind the early pacemakers, Mishani Scout and Miss Tickles.
Last year’s Cup and Prelude winner, Sofin, was midfield and wide early while Der Meister was a conspicuous last for most of the event.
Glitra’s jockey, Chris O’Brien, obtained cover and made a move using plenty of the track over the final 200 metres in an attempt to chase home Belinda Hodder aboard Miss Tickles.
In an exhilarating finish, Miss Tickles was able to hold on for a narrow victory over Glitra and Egyptian Ruler with Mishani Scout and Sofin just behind the placegetters.
The win by the John Bannister trained Youthful Legs mare took her prizemoney to around $120,000 and a progression to the cup is certainly on the agenda.
Race 7 Fulton Industries BM 55 Handicap 1506m
Apprentice Cejay Graham continued her great recent success aboard Red Braids and had no hesitation in taking the filly straight to the front for an impressive win.
The Paul Perry galloper set the tempo for the majority of the race and when Graham allowed more leather in the straight, the Uncle Mo mare roared away over the concluding stages.
Pajados and Colour Purple tried hard, but were no match for Red Braids, who broke her maiden status at Tuncurry and has now made it back to back victories.
The Kris Lees trained mare, Face Like Thunder became cluttered up early and ran an even fifth doing her best work over the latter parts of the event.