Weather won’t dampen Mid-North Coast qualifier

Despite recent rain, Tuncurry-Forster Jockey Club is on track to host a bumper eight-race program and the Mid-North Coast Country Championships qualifier on Saturday. 

According to Track Manager Luke Spicer, the course proper is improving by the hour and will be ready by Saturday. 

“The track is at a heavy nine now, and it’s showing improvement,” he said. 

“Today is a sensational day, and we’re talking about a 35°C heat, which is exactly what we want.

“We’ve got some good coverage and good colour. I look forward to seeing you; it’s going to be an awesome day.”

With the meeting set to go ahead, it’s an exciting time for one of the state’s leading clubs, which will host the $150,000 Mid-North Coast Country Championships qualifier for a second time.

Saturday’s heat at Tuncurry-Firster then leads into Sunday’s Central Districts qualifier at Mudgee.

Mid-North Coast qualifier

Date: February 24

Location: Tuncurry-Forster

Major player: That’s Molly ($6). The Glen Milligan-trained five-year-old has been ticking over for this race, with the five-time winner set to be unleashed in the $150,000 qualifier. 

A last-start winner in the Sawtell Cup at Coffs Harbour on July 23, the Dissident mare proved her class in Open Company. 

She went to the paddock and has since trialled three times in preparation for this event, including a good win over the 1000m at Taree on February 2. 

She handles a heavy track (4:2-0-1); if it weren’t for drawing wide, she’d be the favourite. 

Still, just watch the replay of her Sawtell Cup win, where she stormed over the top of her rivals from an awkward position.

If Zac Wadick can work his magic from the wide draw, That’s Molly is the horse to beat. 

Key contenders: The Mid North Coast qualifier is undoubtedly one of the more open heats of the 2024 Country Championships.

A case could be made for most runners, but it was hard to separate That’s Molly from the Colt Prosser-trained Cenotes ($5).

The four-year-old Rebel Dane gelding will appreciate the heavy ground and will be running out a strong 1400m. 

Unlucky in recent Highway Handicaps at Royal Randwick and Rosehill Gardens, the four-year-old has been hitting the line strongly. 

Connections draw well with gate 4, and Ben Looker takes the ride. With any luck, he will be featuring at some stage. 

The Marc Quinn-trained Agirlsbestfriend ($3) is the favourite, and the four-year-old is another one that will be storming home at the finish. 

Unlucky not to win her past two races in Highway company, the Star Turn mare is building towards a win, and Jenny Duggan takes the ride. 

Kaihoko ($9) could be the value play from the Prosser yard, but the three-year-old might be a year away from his best.

Still, there is no denying the Dundeel gelding has the ability, and Luke Rolls takes the ride.

Why get to Tuncurry-Forster: With 14 bookmakers, the TAB, food vans and other outlets, Tuncurry-Forster promises a good day’s racing. 

The Tuncurry-Forster Jockey Club have built a new great shaded entertainment and dance floor section for 160 racegoers, where the James Keith band will be singing country-rock tunes.

There is also an area cornered off for children with rides, fairy floss, slushies and the like, and there’ll be free buses all around town and one return bus from Hallidays Pt Tavern and Tallwoods Pro Shop.

To find out more or book tickets, click here

For more on the 2024 Country Championships, click here.