Lee Park racecourse will be the venue for a lot of pre-Christmas gatherings on Saturday.
It will be fun trying to get spending money for the upcoming festive season from the bookmakers’ sacks.
If you back a winner or two, you could fill a stocking.
Highlight of the program will be the Malcolm McCallum Memorial Open Handicap (1000m), and locals will wish the top-weight Eight Over the best of transits.
Stewards reported that he laid out rounding the home turn and shifted out under pressure in the early stages of the home straight when he missed a place at Kumbia on Cup day.
A post-race veterinary examination revealed minor lacerations to the off hind leg, consistent with being galloped on.
Although the Lonhro gelding will carry the full 64.5 kilograms, he has scored five times with Saturday’s rider Hannah Richardson aboard.
The seven-year-old’s history on firm surfaces is an impressive 4:3-0-1.
Next in the weights is All Eez, an Exceed and Excel gelding that was bred by Sheikh Mohammad Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum.
The bay raced at Caulfield and Morphettville at two and has had four wins at Rockhampton.
The Chinchilla gelding’s most recent success was at Charleville two months ago.
Eight Over’s stablemate Arnwood, with first up form line of 4:2-1-0, may be a chance.
Although this brother to Sherwood Prince has been off the scene for six months, he showed potential during his three preparations to date.
Viceman, the Denman gelding that is trained at Warwick by Steven Thomas, prevailed at Chinchilla and Gympie for Hannah Phillips in November, and the team is chasing the hat trick this weekend.
The other contender is Music Time, a Kaphero gelding that always tries hard and is yet to miss a place at Nanango.
Meanwhile, Irish jockey Chris Meehan is down to make his Australian debut at Lee Park this weekend.
- Related article: Full Fields For Nanango Races
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In The Big Smoke
The Doomben program that coincides with Nanango on December 5 features two lucrative events.
Brisbane hosts the $105,000 Country Cups Challenge Final (0ML2Y, 1600m) and the $50,000 Country Stampede Final (0MW2LY, 1110 m).
The winners, if QTIS registered, will pick up a $30,000 bonus.
Each field, with handicapping restricted to the 54 to 62 kilogram range, is based on 16 state-wide qualifying races.
Furthermore, horses that have recorded a metropolitan victory in the past two years are ineligible for these grand finales.
Both races are of interest to the South Burnett fraternity.
In the Country Cups Final, Real Salubrious (Kumbia Cup winner), Ritchford (Gympie Cup winner) and Scrabble (unplaced at Kumbia) made the lineup while the emergencies include Chamberlain (Kumbia Cup runner-up), Mahratta (Wondai Cup winner, Gympie Cup runner-up) and Boiling (tenth at Kumbia).
In the Stampede, Diggity – the Qualifier winner at Kumbia – unfortunately has drawn the gate one from the extreme outside.
Music Scene and Victory Toast (third and eighth at Kumbia, respectively) are in the reserves.
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Bits And Bridles
- Sunshine Coast jockey Paul Hamblin has covered plenty of Queensland in recent times. He booted home Hard Stride at Gympie on Cox Plate day and has been booked for the veteran in the Stampede Final. Since late October, the former Darling Downs lad has also ridden at Charleville, Chinchilla, Gatton, Emerald, Mackay, Roma and Dalby. To close off the month, he journeyed south to Warrnambool for Sunday’s Jericho Cup program that boasted two 4600 metre epics on the flat for the heavyweights. He was beaten 44 lengths on Dewinkler (200/1) in the $304,000 Cup and 15 panels on Like You Look ($61) in the Consolation. Talk about dedication to the cause!
- Sherwood Prince deservedly shed his maiden tag and earnt $19,000 at Toowoomba on November 14. The $1.40 favourite from Glenn Richardson’s Nanango stable went straight as an arrow to the post to win decisively. The pacy Better Than Ready colt’s three previous starts had produced a debut fourth in the $75,000 O’Shea Plate at Toowoomba, a handy fourth at Doomben and a frustrating bob of the head nose defeat in a $32,500 Maiden at Rockhampton. For the Clifford Park mission, Richardson switched from winkers to blinkers on John Thornton’s two-year-old and the bay didn’t waver in the straight.
- Wondai trainer Kym Afford landed a double at Mount Perry on November 14. Moa’s Girl prevailed for Shannyn Stephan while Love Ya Blue won and Modern Family ran second, beaten a nose, for Hannah Richardson. In recent weeks, Hannah Phillips has also visited the winner’s circle at Gympie and Chinchilla and Richardson has also scored at Emerald and Dalby.
- It is great to be going racing at Nanango on Saturday after a unique 2020. The usual free buses will be available at noon from Glendon Street, Kingaroy and at 12:30 pm at the Fitzroy Hotel at Nanango. Naturally, the Fashion theme of Jingle All The Way To The Races is a Christmas one.
Hope there are plenty of bank notes and not just a rattle a silver in the punters’ purses and wallets after the last.
See you trackside!