ZACH and Mark Hatch are becoming a formidable training pair after Collins Street won last Saturday’s Merriwa Cup and Mighty Like is a major chance in Sunday’s $150,000 Mercure Tamworth Cup (1400m).
It’s going to be a big weekend for Zach too as the 21-year-old backrower has his first competition game for Dungowan in the revamped Group 4 competition.
“I’m really enjoying that,” said Zach who is returning to the rugby league field after suffering a badly fractured wrist.
He had played for the former Collegians side before suffering the nasty injury and sitting out last season.
He’s now had a couple of trials with the Dungowan Cowboys as they prepare for the jump from the old Group 4 Second Division to playing first and second grade in the new Group 4 competition against the likes of North Tamworth, Gunnedah and Narrabri.
“It’s going to be tough,” he added.
“We’ve had two trials, one at Wingham and the other against Norths. We went all right early against Norths before we ran out of fitness. It showed we weren’t fit enough.”
Dungowan makes their Group 4 first grade “debut” against another second division newcomer, Werris Creek at David Taylor Park on Saturday.
On Sunday Mighty Like carries 60kg in the Tamworth Cup.
“Kris Thomas and I bought Mighty Like from Mick Price,” Zach said of his good mate and great stable supporter.
“We sent him to the paddock and then gave him to Kelly Schweida for three runs. He then freshened him and sent him down here where I ran him at Wellington.
“He ran a ripper in the Town Plate (second to Skylimit), a real good run.”
Mighty Like will be Zach’s first Tamworth Cup runner.
“Never had a runner in (any) cup actually,” he laughed.
“Nick Perrett will ride him, he rides all our track work and rode him at Wellington.”
Mighty Like is “a casual old bugger” who has won 11 of his 48 starts and won five times from 17 starts over the 1400m.
Zach expects him to “get back and get home” in Sunday’s feature.
Collins Street did something similar when he won last Saturday’s Merriwa Cup for Mark Hatch.
“He did a good job out there,” Mark said.
“Settled back early but then pulled his way to third and then went head for head with the favourite (Hammoon Dream) down the straight.”
He also has recent Armidale winner Iwatani in the John Clift Memorial but fears that 1000m scamper might be a little short for the gelding.
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