Mark Mason will venture to Quirindi on Thursday with a three-strong team capable of landing the Tamworth trainer a winner or two.
Leading his stable’s charge is five-year-old, Ziggi Rocks, which has Aaron Bullock in the saddle, and he has drawn gate three in the 1600m Benchmark 66 Handicap.
The Excelebration gelding is a three-time winner from 28 starts, but the ever-consistent galloper has placed a further 12 times, earning almost $100,000 in prizemoney during his career.
“His work has been good. He seems to be an honest old fella. He has been in for a fair while, this is his eighth or ninth run (this preparation), but he is going well and seems to be handling it well,” Mason said.
“He has been a good earner and a good old fella to have around the place”
Following a 1600m Class Two Handicap win at Tamworth back in August, Ziggi Rocks was freshened and finished back-to-back thirds at Armidale (Benchmark 66, 1300m) and Coonabarabran (Class Three, 1600m).
“Old Ziggi was a bit unlucky at Coona. He wanted to over race a bit and Matty (Palmer) made the decision to take off on him at the 600m and he went right around them and tried to climb the hill there at Coona and his run ended,” Mason said.
Grant’s Patch, a half-brother to Ziggi Rocks, will go around in the 1200m Maiden Handicap and from gate four, Kacie Adams has the job of steering him around.
“That Grant’s Patch is a half-brother to Ziggi Rocks, and I think he can run a bit of a race tomorrow,” Mason said.
“It will depend on if he can handle Quirindi and going down the hill, but he is working well.
“When he gets out to 1400m and mile, we will see the best of him then, but that’s not saying he can’t do something tomorrow.”
Persian Queen rounds out the team’s chances, and from gate one and with two-kilogram claiming apprentice, Jackson Searle, in the saddle, the Tamworth trainer believes the Denman mare would be suited in the 1000m Benchmark 58 Handicap.
“She has got to be a hope. She is a fast little mare, and she has drawn good,” Mason said.
“I don’t know how strong the opposition is, and I’d rather be going into a Class One, but we don’t have that luxury much anymore.
“She should handle the track and she will be thereabouts.”
Quirindi race on Thursday followed by Inverell on Saturday and Mason was just pleased to see some extra racing in the region following a tough couple of months with rain and the Covid-19 pandemic postponing meetings.
“I’m not going crook about the rain, but we have lost a few meetings due to the weather and it is nice to have some good racing,” Mason said.
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