GUNNEDAH trainer Gavin Groth is set to resume his successful relationship with Gunnedah Jockey Club’s famous Christmas Hams meeting.
On Saturday, Groth will run Malzoom and Jazzee Nick at the seven-race Country TAB meeting – Malzoom in the $22,000 Hopefuel Reindeer’s Dash Class 1 Handicap (100m) and resuming Jazzee Nick in the $22,000 MPC Santas Souring Sprint Benchmark 58 Handicap (1000m).
Jazzee Nick has drawn the carpark (16) and will do it tough from out wide.
“I thought he was an each way chance if he drew a gate,” Groth said today.
“However he’s not ready for a hard run. He’s a big horse, the biggest I’ve ever had – stands 17 hands and weighs 620kg. He takes a trial and a run to get back to his best.”
Malzoom is drawn much better, in barrier seven, with Scone apprentice Reece Jones to claim 3kg off his 60kg impost.
“He was unlucky at Quirindi (last start) and was never closer than four and five wide,” Groth said of the four-year-old gelding son of Stratum.
“He got caught in a speed battle but still got to the line well.”
He hopes the gelding can win him one of the hams he has been so used to winning in the past few years.
“They are the best,” he said of the added prize for winning trainers from each race.
“Normally I’m in the hams, and we are still eating them before Christmas. They make a great midnight snack after a few beers.”
The Manion Drilling/Ultrafleet Christmas Hams Cup (1600m), a benchmark 66 handicap, is one of the meeting highlights.
It has drawn an 11-horse field, with the Hawkesbury gelding, Uncle Sugar, the top weight.
The Tara and Philippe Vigouroux-trained son of Danroad has won seven of his 64 starts but is yet to race at Gunnedah.
Greg Ryan, who leads the Hunter and Northwest Racing Association premiership after a brilliant four-win effort at Scone on Tuesday, will steer Uncle Sugar from barrier 10.
Mudgee geldings Free Ticket and Western Parade are also having their first look at Riverside.
Free Ticket, trained by Mack Griffith, will jump from barrier 11 and will have the services of Ben Looker, while apprentice Kath Bell-Pitomac will claim 2kg off the 56.5kg to be carried by the Gayna Williams-trained Western Parade. They will jump from barrier nine.
The HNWRA trainers’ premiership (unofficial as at Monday):
17 Kris Lees, 14 Sue Grills, 11 Stirling Osland, 9 Paul Perry, 8 Brett Cavanough, 7 Angela Davies, Cody Morgan, 6 Stephen Gleeson, Melanie O’Gorman, 5 Peter Sinclair, 4 Jan Bowen, Craig Clegg, Colin Dixon, Shane Edmonds, Greg McFarlane, Todd Payne, William Wain, 3 David Atkins, Kristen Buchanan, Melissa Dennett, Paul Grills, Gavin Groth, Steve Hodge, Tim McIntosh, Geoff O’Brien, Nathan Sinclair, Gayna Williams, George Woodward. 2 Bjorn Baker, Tracey Bartley, Graeme Brooker, Jane Clement, Paddy Cunningham, Jason Deamer, Allan Denham, Stephen Dixon, Larry Fairhall, Stephen Farley, Zach Hatch, John Hine, Todd Howlett, Lesley Jeffriess, Stephen Jones, Allan Kehoe, John McLachlan, Craig Martin, Nick Mitchell, Rod Northam, Wayne Oakenfull, Brett Partelle, Tanya Randell, Dale Riley, Mark Schmetzer, Dwayne Schmidt, Matthew Smith, 1 Jarrod Austin, John Bannister, Peter Ball, John Bannister, Craig Bermingham, Peter Bloomfield, Max Boland, Danielle Campbell, David Campbell, Simon Casey, Peter Clarke, Denis Consadine, Jason Coyle, Cameron Crockett, Leon Cross, Robert Davies, Scott Dixon, Peter Evans, Pat Farrell, Douglas Fernando, Todd Fletcher, Allan Foran, Kylie Gavenlock, Connie Greig, Ray Hartley, Lindsay Hatch, Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes, Ben Hill, Greg Hook, Gerard Jenkinson, Mitchell and Desiree Kearney, Lindsey Kennedy, Stephen Kirkwood, Ken Lantry, Dianne Lumsden, Garry Lunn, Neville McCarthy, Dean McHardie, Mark Mason, Bob Milligan, Kevin Miller, Mark Milton, Tas Morton, Michael Mulholland, Kellie Nicholls, Wayne Nugent, Troy O’Neile, Rod Ollerton, Graham Payne, John Ramsey, David Reynolds, Campbell Roberts, Ben Smith, Keith Smith, Rochelle Smith, Gilbert Slattery, Keith Smith, Peter & Paul Snowden, Frank Tanner, Scott Thompson, Les Tilley, Sally Torrens, Dale Wagstaff, Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, George Wright.