THE Macleay will be strongly represented this Monday at Taree with local trainers, Barry Ratcliff and Daniel Simonetta, nominating strong candidates for the Manning Valley Race Club's TAB meeting.
Ratcliff will be entering three horses from his stable with Shy One and Gwennybegg appearing in Race 6 whilst First Time Lucky will search for a win in Race 7.
Gwennybegg is in some great form after her last two races saw a win at Tuncurry and place in Grafton. Shy One's last win was in Taree on April 28.
Simonetta has entered nine-year-old mare, Piccolo Miss, into Race 6. He will be heading to Taree coming off the back of a Wauchope Cup win with Prima Stella on June 14.
Taree trainer Tony Ball has all bases loaded with four handy gallopers with different missions.
For gelding Senatorial it is on the path to try and claim a start in the $100,000 Taree Cup in August, for gelding Makuba and new stable mare Boom Queen it is to fight out the feature sprint and for filly Modify it is to win her maiden.
"It is my biggest number of runners since I returned to training at Taree," Ball said.
"You have to nominate to see who is in...and have a go."
His greatest dream is to win the Taree Cup over 2000m on August 23 and he is grooming his four-year-old to give him a shot, its first race back being the Saxby's Soft Drink CG&E Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1400m on Monday.
After Senatorial ran third to Into The Oblivion over 1800m at Port Macquarie on March 5, Ball earmarked Monday's meeting for the gelding's march towards cup day.
In a short preparation the gelding won over 1600m at Taree, then over 2018m at the same track, before an unlucky third (less than half-length) to Cap's Boy over 1800m in a $75,000 Highway race over 1800m at Randwick on February 15.
On each occasion apprentice jockey Mikayla Weir was the rider and she again takes the mount.
"Senatorial has been ticking over fine and can run well fresh from a spell," Ball said.
"His next race will be over a mile and then a 1800m Highway at Rosehill early August.
"All going well, he might get into the cup field with a light weight."
Six-year-old Makuba wasn't disgraced when fourth over 1000m to Mr Polar at Taree on June 5 after wins at Kempsey and Tuncurry and it and Boom Queen clash in the TAB Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1000m.
The Kempsey and last Taree race were near or track records over 1000 and Makuba is the type which can take a sit or lead to be in the finish.
"He was going to race at Coffs Harbour but it was abandoned...my horse is ready to strike," he said.
"It has been nearly ready for a spell but keeps ticking over with fast runs."
As for four-year-old Boom Queen in the same race, it recently joined the stable from trainer Matthew Smith in Sydney and is having its first race for Ball since a second at Hawkesbury in August.
Ball's son, Michael, had a share in the mare when it raced for wins at Taree and Goulburn for Smith and when it was listed on line for sale, Ball bought her for $3300 and syndicated its ownership with family and a group of others who have never raced a galloper.
Ball has secured great strike rate jockey Aaron Bullock to ride the mare, making a comeback after battling with weight issues.
It is an even field and one which could make its presence felt is resuming six-year-old mare Hold All Tickets which gave Taree trainer Glen Milligan his first win when it scored at Walcha last campaign.
"It had numerous placings and was unlucky not to win first up at Taree last preparation," Milligan said.
"It got hammered in the run."
He said six weeks to freshen up and had her going terrific and she handled a jump out well.
Also in the mix is four-year-old Port Macquarie gelding Just Sizzling which was a good third to Lobban Hood here on May 25 and should appreciate this class.
As for three-year-old filly Modify (emergency) in the Super Dry 3.5 Maiden over 1250m, it is backing up from a fourth at Port to Always Hot, trained at the track by Marc Quinn, and it will be ridden by Ray Spokes.
"It was only beaten a couple of lengths and as it learns it is getting better," Ball said.
"We can only try.
"If you are not in it, you can't win it," he added.
Drying weather should keep improving the track where the rail is out 4m from the 1000m to the winning post and 3m for the rest of the circuit, limiting fields to 12 starters.
DOUG RYAN'S SELECTIONS:
RACE 1:The Neon Knight 1, Zanshin 2, Minifinn 3.
RACE 2: Dunoon 1, Flying Mojo 2, Honovi 3.
RACE 3: Syncline 1, New York Nick 2, Modify (emerg.)
RACE 4: Dream Song 1, Money Heist 2, Fantasy Eagle 3.
RACE 5: Makuba 1, Boom Queen 2, Hold All Tickets 3.
RACE 6: Good Excuse 1, Gwenybegg 2, Mahervellous 3.
RACE 7: Senatorial 1, Condover Hall 2, Dragoneight 3.
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