Gilgandra trainer Kieren Hazelton sent out 2022 in style and enjoyed a day to remember on his home track on December 31, combining with Andrew Banks when preparing a winning-treble.
On Saturday, Hazelton will be out to continue that good form at home, with six gallopers taking on the annual Tooraweenah Cup program.
“We always aim to have a big team racing over the carnival,” Hazelton said.
“We have a lot of local owners, and it gets them to the races, and it was good to have a successful carnival and to get some results was satisfying.
“We stacked the deck a bit there, with a lot of runners racing at both meetings, and leading into this meeting, which is four or five weeks later, we still have a big team in work, and I expect all of them to show their best ability at home.”
The feature on the program is the 1550m Tooraweenah Cup, and the stable has Turgenev (Andrew Banks, $5) and Blue Channel (Shayleigh Ingelse, $13) going around.
“Turgenev looks our best chance. His next run after winning at Gil on the New Year’s meeting was a good run too, and then we went to Dubbo on Monday and it was a bit disappointing, but he didn’t have the easiest of runs, and we are expecting him to bounce back and run a better race,” Hazelton said.
“Blue Channel will probably go forward and make her own luck. She is an eight-year-old mare that is closer to the end of her racing career than the beginning, but she isn’t racing too bad.
“She ran a good third there at the New Year’s meeting, and she was up in grade at Parkes last start, but she ran well.”
The Gilgandra stable has Mamelon (Andrew Banks, $2.90) and Japingka (James Rogers, $13) contesting the 1000m Benchmark 50 Handicap, and Sizzling Star (Ashleigh Stanley, $3.30) and Green Opinions (James Rogers, $9) taking on the 1280m Benchmark 50 Handicap, and despite some poor draws, Hazelton likes his chances.
“Off her work and her last couple of runs, Sizzling Star is up there amongst the stable’s better chances,” Hazelton said.
“Really, I’ve got good chances all day, but they’ve all drawn the car park and they all need a bit of luck.
“Mamelon is running well but she’s a little mare that has to carry 60kg, and Japingka is another one racing well and consistent without winning but she has drawn the outside gate and she needs everything to go her way to win.”
Home track advantage usually counts for something, and Hazelton certainly hopes that is how it plays out on Saturday.
“That’s usually the case, and most of time, they are better racing on their home track, but in some cases, horses can overdo it, and fire up a bit, but a majority normally prefer racing at home,” Hazelton said.
Gilgandra’s summer race meet is expected to be a popular one for locals and visiting racegoers, with the six-race-card complemented by a barbeque, bar, and fashions on the field.