Normally it would be a dusty four and a half to five-hour trip from his Menindee base to Cobar for trainer Wayne Marsden, but due to flooded roads, the veteran trainer was forced to make a longer than usual detour.
As a result, Marsden and his team of six horses went via Broken Hill, meaning they travelled some eight hours before eventually arriving in Cobar on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s annual race meeting.
“We got here yesterday (Thursday),” Marsden said.
“We had to go the long way, so it was eight hours. We went from Menindee to Broken Hill, then from Broken Hill to Cobar.
“Since we had gone around the Broken Hill way, we wanted to give them the extra day to get settled and so there were no excuses.”
Marsden will have Allez Rev in the 1700m Cobar Cup and following a last-start third placing in the Nyngan Cup, Marsden believes the eight-year-old can run a big race in the feature for apprentice jockey Zara Lewis.
“I think my best chances tomorrow would be Allez Rev in the Cobar Cup, and Three Rar in the Sprint,” Marsden said.
“Allez Rev has been racing well, and yeah, Connie Greig’s (Valadyium) will be the hardest to beat, and she won it last year (with Naoko).
“Also, Knee Slapper goes okay, and it won the Bourke Cup, but I thought my bloke was a big run over the 1400m at Nyngan and I think he would be hard to beat.
“He will drop off the speed and I think he will be hitting the line pretty strongly.”
Marsden has Three Rar (Andrew Banks) and Orezira (Zara Lewis) going around in the 1000m Benchmark 58 Handicap, and he believes Three Rar with the better draw (gate 4) will go well for connections.
“I only say Three Rar because he is drawn in close,” Marsden said.
“All the speed is drawn out wide and I don’t think they are good enough to cross him.
“I know No Debt and Billy Bent Ear are good horses, but they have drawn wide, and it might hurt their chances.”
Marsden, who is the father of Cobar Miner’s Race Club President Jarrod Marsden, always makes the trip to Cobar, and he said the course proper looked in fantastic order ahead of Saturday’s meeting.
“We just walked the track; about six or eight of us, it would be the most consistent track I have raced on this year,” Marsden said.
“The place looks great and full credit to them.”
The six-race non-TAB program attracted 58 acceptances, and Marsden said the level of racing will be on par with a TAB program.
“Tomorrow, your horse nearly has to be a TAB horse to win at Cobar,” Marsden said.
“They are good fields, especially with the likes of Brett (Robb), Kieren (Hazelton), Clint (Lundholm) and Bryan (Dixon) coming, and they are bringing a lot of horses and they are good fields.”
It is a big day at Cobar, with a huge fashions on the field keeping patrons entertained off track, while on track the racing is set to keep punters on their toes.