PORT Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham and Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson notched 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 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.
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."
What else is happening in sport?
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.