Lismore Turf Club will host both a Lismore Cup Prelude and Untamed Sprint Prelude for the first time on Wednesday ahead of their major race meeting on September 23.
With the feature race season heating up, local trainer Daniel Bowen will be aiming to kick off a big two weeks, with his stable boasting major players in both Preludes.
“We have a few going well and some strong chances,” Bowen said.
In the Lismore Cup Prelude over 2100m, Bowen will present the in-form Holbrook, and Kirk Matheson will take the ride from gate one.
“I have only had him this prep. He took a few runs to get fit and work out, but he found form and is going well,” Bowen said.
“He had a kill at Casino, and he was really unlucky at Murwillumbah in the Open staying race, but once he got out the bird had flown, and he was flying home.”
The seven-year-old is coming off a nice third in a 2220m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Grafton and Bowen said the Lismore Cup was always the end goal.
“He has been set for the Lismore Cup all along and the timing is right for him,” Bowen said.
“He gets in this race well; he is down in the weights and if he can run top three, he will be peaking for the cup in two weeks’ time.”
Gate one will help connections on Thursday, and it is expected that Matheson will ride the stayer in a more positive position.
“He is going to have to be positive on him. He is like a big diesel, he will finish off good, but you can’t sit and sprint with him,” Bowen said.
“If you get too far back, he takes a bit to wind up and we will preferably be handy on the horse, but he doesn’t have an abundance of speed, so he needs to jump cleanly, and hopefully he is sitting in the first three or four.”
Bowen’s best chance of landing a Prelude victory at Lismore on Thursday likely arrives in the 1100m Untamed Sprint Prelude with top weight, Amirykal.
The in-form five-year-old will jump from gate one but wasn’t missed by the handicapper and was allotted 62kg, so Bowen elected for three-kilogram claiming apprentice Jasper Franklin.
The race does look to suit the Akeed Mofeed mare though, especially after a tough win in the Murwillumbah Newmarket Handicap last start.
“At the end of the day, before she won at Murwillumbah, she was a Class Three horse with a high rating of 68 and with the lockdown and restrictions, there isn’t a lot of races around for her,” Bowen said.
“In the Newmarket, she won but they gave her a 12 or 13 point penalty; I was a bit miffed about that, but it is what it is and she will go around.
“I couldn’t run her with 62kg, so we had to claim but from where she is drawn well, she will be hard to beat.”
The Lismore trainer is looking forward to racing a big team on his home track – accepting with eight runners – and he spruiked two more big chances for the stable.
One being Rose Bouquet in the 1200m Class Three Handicap and the second being Beef Week Princess in the 1516m Benchmark 58 Handicap.
“It’s a hometown meeting and that’s what it is all about – you want to win those races,” Bowen said.
“We have a few good chances. Rose Bouquet is a good horse; she is on the up and is a horse going places and Beef Week Princess won well last start, gets in nicely and Matty McGuren takes the ride.”
Punters might be able to find a winner or two on a strong seven-race-program at Lismore and full fields can be found by clicking here.