TAMWORTH trainers nominated more than a third of the field for Sunday’s $150,000 Hunter and North West Racing Association Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Tamworth.
Cody Morgan, Melanie O’Gorman, Sue Grills and Melissa Dennett entered 11 of the 30 nominees today for a meeting which attracted 160 nominations in total.
Morgan has entered five – Anchois, Legendofoz, Moobi, Mr Pumblechook and Gunnedah Cup winner Unbiased – while O’Gorman nominated Kosciuszko runner-up Suncraze, Beauty Best and Cut The Mustard.
Sue Grills has brilliant Burning Crown and Arleta nominated while Melissa Dennett entered Such A Hussy in the $150,000 heat.
Only 14 can start in Sunday’s $150,000 HNWRA Qualifier with the first two placegetters earning a berth in April 6’s $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championship Final (1400m) at Randwick.
Third or worse in Sunday’s Qualifier can still earn a final berth – if they win March 4’s $50,000 Wild Card at Muswellbrook.
“We’ve got good fields,” advised interim Tamworth Jockey Club general manager Wade Berryman.
“Hopefully they will all hold up. 30 nominations for the Qualifier is pretty good and there are some pretty sharp ones amongst them too. It would be nice to think we could get all 11 Tamworth horses into the qualifier.”
That is extremely unlikely given the benchmark ratings of some of the other entrants from Scone, Muswellbrook, Armidale, Gunnedah and Cessnock stables.
Wade Berryman pointed to the likes of the Stephen Jones-trained Hit The Target, the Jan Bowen-prepared Roman Typhoon and Bret Cavanough’s highly rated Cosmic Engine.
Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan, who has the flying Manabar heading to Newcastle on Saturday, has the benchmarked toprater in Unbiased, a six-year-old gelding with three wins in 20 starts and more than $160,000 in prizemoney.
He won last year’s Gunnedah Cup and then spelled for 32 weeks. He’s had four trials to get him fit for Sunday.
Stablemate Moobi (71 benchmark points) is also returning from a short seven week freshen after powering home to win at Warwick Farm on December 18.
He had won his previous two at Scone in flashing style and has the class to win Sunday.
So too has Suncraze, the Melanie O’Gorman gelding who went so close to winning last year’s inaugural Kosciuszko at Randwick.
The five-year-old gelding son of Henrythenavigator has won five of his 19 starts for more than $570,000 in prizemoney.
He also won last year’s HNWRA Qualifier at Scone before finishing seventh to Victorem in the CC Final at Randwick.