CRAIG Martin is hoping to snare two good races with “fresh” horses at Scone and Tamworth over the coming days.
The Tamworth trainer has nominated Navajo Chief for Tuesday’s $20,000 Benchmark 70 Handicap (1000m) at Tamworth, where the six-year-old chestnut gelding son of Zizou is one of 11 entrants.
“He’ll probably run at Tamworth,” Martin said. “He ran a real good race in the John Clift Memorial at Tamworth [on Tamworth Cup day]. [He] was unlucky and should have finished a lot closer [than sixth].”
Martin will also run Present Sense in Friday’s $80,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Noel Leckie Country Cup Benchmark 85 Handicap (1400m) at Scone.
The six-year-old gelding son of Bryanbo’s Gift, a birthday present for Martin’s son Liam, has drawn wide in gate 13, with Josh Oliver to ride.
Present Sense will carry 57kg in a race that includes Tamworth Cup runner-up After All That (Rod Northam), but the former hasn’t raced since finishing sixth to Exilia Miss in the April 18 Guyra Cup (1400m).
He was beaten just over two lengths that day – a similar story to many of his recent near misses in country cups.
That stretches back to last year when he was second in the Curlewis Cup at Gunnedah and the Maclean Cup at Grafton. That year he also finished third in the Narromine Cup and the Gunnedah Cup, before winning the Barraba Cup.
However the near misses continued with a third in the Kempsey Cup and the Coonabarabran Cup.
He placed fifth in the Walcha Cup and sixth in the Quirindi Cup.
Martin spelled the horse after he was beaten by just over a length in the Quirindi Cup and he returned from a six-week break to run well in the Guyra Cup.
He has trialled well, finishing fourth to Crooked Blaze over 900m at Tamworth last week, although Martin said Friday’s race “could be a bit short for him”.
“He’s drawn a little wide too,” he added. “He could go forward because he has raced up on the speed when he’s fresh. Not that we’ve wanted him to but because he does. He’s been a very consistent horse for us, won five races.”
Present Sense has almost $98,000 in prize money.
Martin is thinking about taking the horse on a North Queensland cups tour to Mackay and Townsville.
“If we don’t go there we might go to the mid-weekers in Sydney,” he said.
While there are 11 nominations for Tuesday’s B70 at Tamworth, there were 154 nominations in total for Tamworth Jockey Club’s eight-race TAB meeting.
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