Gloves off at Holland readies for hometown WRA qualifier

The Ian Holland-trained Glover will take on Sunday’s Western Racing Association Country Championships qualifier at Coonamble. Photos: Racing Photography.

It’s the third year in a row that Coonamble will host the Western Racing Association Country Championships qualifier, but for local trainer Ian Holland, it will be the first time he will prepare a runner in the $150,000 event. 

Holland will set Glover for the 1400m qualifier, and the Al Maher gelding will be first-up in the race, with Matthew Palmer taking the ride. 

The eight-year-old is only lightly raced, starting 15 times for three wins, and those three victories all arrived during a stellar preparation during late 2020 and early 2021. 

“Last time in, he won three races,” Holland said. 

“First-up at 1300m, he led all the way here at Coonamble on the Gold Cup meeting and then he won a 2000m (race) here at Coonamble and we took him to Gilgandra two weeks later and he won an 1800m there and then I turned him out for 12 months.”

Glover will enter the race 62-weeks between runs, with a tendon injury cruelling what was turning out to be a very good career. 

“He had a bit of a tendon problem, but he is back in now and he is going pretty good,” Holland said. 

“He goes good fresh, and first-up after 12 months off; there will be no problems with him.”

The Coonamble galloper can both lead and come from behind, and last time he was first-up, he held off current WRA qualifier race favourite Activation ($2.60) in a thrilling finish to the line over the 1300m journey. 

“He is pretty hard to toss when he gets in front and when he is fresh, but he can come from behind or lead; it doesn’t worry him,” Holland said. 

“He has beaten Activation here in a 1300m but there are other pretty handy horses in the race, and he won’t let us down.”

Holland wasn’t worried about Glover resuming over the seven furlongs either and he was just looking forward to watching him up against the WRA’s best on his home track.  

“Over 1400m he is right in it. The further he goes the better he gets, but on fresh legs, he loves 1400m and Coonamble,” Holland said.

It will be a huge day for Coonamble, with a bumper 10-race-program and plenty of off-track entertainment set to attract a massive crowd. 

“It is just great for the Coonamble district to have these races again and we are so thankful to Racing NSW for giving us this opportunity to put this on again,” said President Ken Waterford. 

“It is amazing what it does for the town and the district.”

The meeting has been well supported, and the likes of champion hoops James McDonald and Hugh Bowman will be taking on the country’s best jockeys.

Readers wanting to know more about what’s on at Coonamble on Sunday can click here and for full fields, readers can click here.