Inverell Jockey Club will host their feature meeting of the year on New Year’s Day, with the running of the Inverell Cup ($45,000) and Inverell Shorts ($30,000) headlining their eight-race showcase program.
Visiting trainers from all over NSW and Queensland will make their way to the meeting, making for some very entertaining country cup racing.
Race One: 5 Outback Ringer – $3.50
The strong Cody Morgan yard presents the two major players in the opening event, and I am sticking with the more experienced of the two in Outback Ringer.
The three-year-old has raced well without winning at Scone and Tamworth this preparation, and third-up, he should be fit enough and looks well-placed from gate two and with Jasper Franklin in the saddle.
Race Two: 6 Dommantella – $6.50
The former Victorian Dommantella looks well-placed second-up in this event.
The Sue Grills-trained galloper looked in need of the run first-up at Tamworth and has run well second-up and over 1400m in the past.
This is a winnable maiden and Wendy Peel should give the gelding every chance from the good draw.
Race Three: 10 Spirit of Pluto – $16 (Best Value)
There could be some good each-way value on offer with Spirit of Pluto in this event.
Trained on track by Todd Payne, the five-year-old will have home track advantage, and he has been solid this preparation without winning.
He’s drawn to figure and if he runs up to his last start fourth at Tamworth, he can figure here.
Race Four: 3 Smokey Diamond – $5
The Cameron Richardson-trained Smokey Diamond ventures down from Toowoomba for this event.
The Queenslander is a city winner and is more than capable in this class.
First-up he was beaten 1.7 lengths and finished a good fourth in the Chinchilla Cup, and he’s won second-up before. Ben Looker is on board, but the wide draw is a concern.
Race Five: 8 Rayock – $5.50
Glen Innes galloper Rayock looks a big chance for Terry McCarthy in this event.
The four-year-old can sprint and went close when first-up at the Gold Coast and second-up at Coffs Harbour.
Was up in class last time, beaten 2.8 lengths in a Benchmark 62 Handicap at Toowoomba, but this looks a winnable race for connections.
Race Six: 8 Liberty Head – $6.50
This is arguably the toughest race on the program, with a good field of open class sprinters taking on the time-honoured Inverell Shorts.
Moree galloper Liberty Head is first-up (5:2-1) for astute trainer Peter Sinclair, who is no stranger to success at Inverell.
He is 253 days between runs but if he is at his best, he will be tough to beat.
Race Seven: 8 Zaidin – $4.20
The Wayne Oakenfull-trained Zaidin is trained on the track and looks the horse to beat second-up in the Inverell Cup.
The seven-year-old had no luck in the running and flashed late to finish third in the Christmas Cup at Ballina when first-up from a short let-up.
Zaidin will be fitter for the effort; he draws to get a much softer run and top hoop Ben Looker takes the ride.
Race Eight: 7 Cyber Attack – $3.30 (Best Bet)
The Stirling Osland-trained Cyber Attack was a stylish winner last start at Armidale when crossing from a wide barrier to take up the running before winning comfortably.
Brooke Stower is back in the saddle and connections draw nicely with gate one, suggesting they won’t have to work as hard to find the front.