There’s nothing like playing on your home track!
Evans will have eight runners at the popular annual Seafood Raceday, with many of his owners allattending to be part of what is always a great crowd.
The former Gosford trainer, who has called Tuncurry home for 13 years, has representatives in five of the seven races.
RACE 1: Robarge (Jeff Kehoe);
RACE 3: Pulitzer Prize (Kehoe);
RACE 5: Hooyah (Kehoe), Madakari (Darryl McLellan), and Green Rebel (apprentice Lian Blanch);
RACE 6: Classic Bright (Kehoe);
RACE 7: Areya Tuchuzy (apprentice Bailey Wheeler), and Tax Haven (Kehoe).
Despite awkward draws, Evans has named Robarge (Maiden Plate, 1000m) and Madakari (Maiden Handicap, 1400m) as his best chances.
“Robarge is a nice mare we bought from New Zealand and she was placed at all four runs in her first campaign for us,” Evans said.
“I have taken both a nose roll and winkers off her for Saturday’s race.
“She was inclined to over-race, but is a lot more tractable this time in work.
“Though she has drawn 10 in a field of 11, I expect her to be hard to beat.”
Evans will saddle three horses for the 1400m Maiden, but didn’t hesitate when asked to nominate his stable elect.
“Madakari is definitely the pick,” he said. “He is a lightly-raced three-year-old by Lionhearted who has benefited from two starts as a late two-year-old.
“Madakari has been runner-up at both starts at Coffs Harbour and Taree since resuming.
“Both have been really good runs and the 1400m will suit him. He just needs to get some luck from the wide draw, but will come in a few if all the emergencies do no secure starts.”
Evans was also pleased to learn that likely favorite, the Kris Lees-trained Hettinger, which also drew poorly, has been withdrawn.
He is also looking forward to beginning a new campaign with former Newcastle sprinter Areya Tuchuzy (pronounced Are Ya Too Choosy) in the 1000m Benchmark 60 Handicap.
“Areya Tuchuzy had only the one run for us when he disappointed at Scone last February, but had a problem with his galloping action,” Evans explained.
“He was clipping the inside of his near near knee with his off front foot, which obviously would have been painful.
“We’ve changed his shoeing and given him acupuncture, and he showed no sign of any problem when he trialled nicely at Wyong on December 19.
“Like Robarge and Madakari, again we have come up with a wide draw, but Bailey Wheeler will claim 3kg on Areya Tuchuzy and I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t race well.”
Evans is looking forward to the Mid North Coast Racing Association heat of the Country Championships at Taree on February 20.
He is aiming his promising mare Par Avion at the $150,000 feature to be run over 1400m.
A four-year-old daughter of Cox Plate winner Shamus Award, Par Avion has raced only 10 times for four wins and two placings.
She really hit her straps at her latest preparation, winning four of her last six starts; the latest over 1210m at Port Macquarie on October 24.
Evans took Par Avion to the Taree meeting last Monday, and was delighted with her performance to win a 1000m trial.
“She gave them a decent start and rounded them up,” he said.
“At this stage, I will probably give her one start leading up to the heat, and am hoping Bailey Wheeler will be able to ride her in the Championship Preview (a 1200m Class 4 Handicap) at Port Macquarie on February 6.
“I’ve already booked Andrew Gibbons to ride her in the heat at Taree.”
Tuncurry Forster Jockey Club president Garry McQuillan has declared “all is in great order” for the Seafood Raceday.
“The track looks immaculate, and we’ve got plenty of seafood to delight our patrons,” McQuillan said.
“We’ll go through around 100 dozen Wallis Lake oysters, along with prawn rolls and barbecued mullet.
“The weather forecast looks good and, with holidaymakers in the area at present, we’re expecting a terrific crowd.
“Free buses will run from Tuncurry, Forster, Black Head and Pacific Palms.”