On Boxing Day, Cody Morgan will swap the city slickness of Warwick Farm for the country quaintness of Quirindi Jockey Club, and a metropolitan-winning horse for a bush battler.
Morgan’s return to Quirindi for the five-race meeting is a return to his roots (he went to school there) – and will come four days after his six-year-old gelding Moobi won the TAB Highway Handicap at Warwick Farm, to record his third straight victory and bolster his Country Championships credentials.
On Wednesday at Quirindi, Morgan has one runner – Manabar, whom the trainer has admitted may be “off the team” if he fails in the Peel Valley Group CG&E Benchmark 50 (1450 metres).
You always seem to have a few more friends when you have a fast horse.- Cody Morgan
Manabar is also a six-year-old gelding. But his 28-race career is 20 more than Moobi’s, whose four victories is one more than his seasoned stablemate.
One of Manabar’s triumphs came at this meeting last year. However, since then he has finished first only once: at Tamworth on January 25.
“He hasn’t been in the best of form, but he has improved and he’ll run [at Quirindi] the best race he’s run this preparation,” Morgan said, adding that it has been a “fairly long time between wins” for the horse.
“So unless he wins or runs second, then he might find himself on the way out,” the trainer said. “I try to turn them over fairly quickly. If [he is] not paying [his] way for the owners, he’ll be out – he’ll be off the team.”
Morgan is one of five owners of the horse. But while it will be Manabar’s big day, Morgan expects Moobi to be the hot topic of conversation. “You always seem to have a few more friends when you have a fast horse,” he joked.
He said it “was always good to get back down there on Boxing Day and see everybody”. He added: “And they put on a really good day down there, the club.”