Queensland trainer and reinsman Jamie Donovan has been attending the Tamworth Harness Racing Club January race carnival for 14 years.
This year he is on a mission – a winning mission - in the hope of returning home with a feature race trophy.
“It would be nice to take home a trophy. I have only missed three years since 2004 so it would be good to get a feature.”
Donovan, who is based at Taigum, has been settled in Tamworth for the past three weeks, letting his horses become accustomed to the racing here as well as the climate.
“I am staying out with Michael and Paul Grima at their property. It’s great. They can’t do enough for you. They are a great family,” he said.
Donovan enjoyed success with Bella Rippin last Sunday night at Tamworth when the five-year-old mare took the Bearing Accessories Tamworth Pace by 1.6 metres over race favourite Jax Tellar (Courtney Sutherland). Readily (Stacey Weidemann) was another two metres away in third.
“We will aim her for the Nugget next Wednesday night [in Tamworth],” said Donovan. “And if she comes through that, we will then aim her for the Cup race.”
The Garrard’s Tamworth City Cup will be raced on Thursday, January 25 with $12,000 prizemoney on offer.
“They are both good races within themselves,” said Donovan. “That was her [Bella Rippin] first win at Tamworth. She did it pretty easy.”
Bella Rippin had the run of the race on the back of the race leader, Irish Town Babe (Julie Weidemann).
“It was just a case of getting out but she came home easy – she had her ears pricked and off the bit going to the line,” said Donovan.
Prior to the 2016 carnival, Bella Ripp won three races on the trot at Albion Park.
The mare now has the benefit of Sunday’s win behind her before contesting the $10,000 Pub Group Gold Nugget, which has a gold nugget trophy, on Wednesday night.
“She came down here two years ago to contest the Starmaker and then had a shot at the Golden Guitar last year and had no luck,” said Donovan. “But she did run a good second in another race on finals night.”
Stablemate Seven Rippin Aces – who collected the cash for Donovan at the December 27 Tamworth meeting – will contest the heats of the TAB Starmaker Three Year Old on Sunday, January 21, after finishing fourth to All About Alice (Brad Elder) last Sunday at Tamworth.
“He got a win first up here at Tamworth,” said Donovan.
“He is going as good as gold. I was happy with his run and how he pulled up [on Sunday]. He copped interference and then locked wheels with another runner in the race.
“He came through that alright so we will look at the Starmaker for him now. It’s not bad money for a three-year-old race and it’s a good stepping stone for the horse if he wins. I made the final one year with another horse.”
The $15,000 TAB Starmaker Final will be conducted on January 25.
Fields for Wednesday night will be released at 4.30pm on Friday.