by Ross Stanley
Top trainer Glenn Richardson and top jockey Jason Hoopert will team up with Jill’s Shadow in the Heritage Nanango BM 55 (1200m) at Lee Park on Saturday.
Richardson and Hoopert both finished at the top of their respective tables for the South East Country Racing Association’s non-TAB circuit for 2016-17.
While a countback could not separate Richardson and Bundaberg conditioner Darryl Gardiner for the trainers’ title, Hoopert was a clear winner in the senior riders’ category.
Richardson’s Nanango side is in form.
Klammer, piloted by Hannah English, scored in the $12,000 Open Handicap at Dalby last Saturday.
Sparkling Gift ($10) collected the minor money at Kilcoy on Thursday for English, who also booted home Star Of Baroda for Oakey mentor Bradley Hudson on the same card.
Hoopert, meanwhile, has come back home after a successful far western sojourn.
He no doubt took some great photos as well as saluting at Betoota and Birdsville and finishing a half length second at Bedourie.
By the way, although Jill’s Shadow disappointed when forced wide at her Nanango appearance in August, her home track record stands at three wins from five chores.
Although Nanango’s field sizes for this weekend are below normal for the course, the outcome is not surprising and actually better than at some other venues.
Kilcoy’s fixture, for example, ended up with seven runners or less for five of its TAB seven races.
Authorities have publicly put the recent drop in depth at TAB meetings in the south-east down to the very dry weather.
Another factor is the spate of race days this week.
Doomben raced on Wednesday, Kilcoy the next day, Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast are Friday’s hosts with the latter backing up again on Sunday.
Warwick and Surat are also operating on Saturday, so it’s probably fortunate there’s no activity at Toowoomba.
Conventional wisdom is that there is a smaller pool of older horses around during the lead up to the early two-year-old events.
This week’s trials for the babies will not want to be a reflection on the overall numbers in training.
The Toowoomba trials for juveniles were abandoned because of a lack of nominations.
Eleven of the dozen that went around at Caloundra were prepared by Mark Webb, while the Gold Coast set saw only six fillies and four colts step out.
Hopefully the current situation is a temporary glitch.