TAREE trainer Michael Byers grabbed his second Newcombe Coach Lines Gloucester Cup in three years with a solid win with mare Music Magic ($6.50) at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Monday.
“My only worry was the wet track,” Byers said after overnight rain and more during the meeting had the Bushland Drive Racecourse rated as a heavy eight.
He knew he had the mare primed to win second-up from a spell after returning to training after an extended holiday but he was banking on good footing for his galloper.
A tip from Newcastle jockey Andrew Gibbons to apply a barrier blanket to her in the barriers for the first time to mend her from being fractious paid dividends with a half-length win from Taree gelding Demoralising ($14) in the 1000m sprint.
Gibbons couldn’t take the mount as he was required to ride at Tamworth on the same day and replacement jockey Robert Thompson weaved his magic by having the last shot at the leaders from out wide on the track which played exceptionally well.
“I talked to her sweetly in the barriers and she travelled nice,” Thompson said.
“The blanket helped as she has to be cuddled to do her best,” Byers said.
Two years ago he was the cup winner with the grey flash, Clune’s Rocket, also ridden by Thompson.
The hoop kept Music Magic in touch with the pace and then scouted wide which he said was “possibly better.”
“A good tough win.”
Jockey Aaron Bullock ride a winning double and was then unsuccessful in making it three when his last mount, four-year-old gelding Tawfiq Boy ($2.05), trained at Newcastle by Kris Lees, failed by a head in the Lovey’s Grocers IGA Gloucester Class 2 Handicap over 1250m.
He protested against the winner, four-year-old mare Typhoon Bonny ($3.70), trained at Port Macquarie by Neil Godbolt, for veering out in the straight but stewards dismissed his appeal.
Bullock and Lees combined earlier to score a 2.5 lengths win with four-year-old gelding Hi Caliber ($3) in the Functions At The Winning Post Function Centre Class 1 & Maiden Plate over 2000m.
He was also a half-length winner on five-year-old gelding Zigamore ($4), trained at Newcastle by Jason Deamer, in the XXXX Gold Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1600m.
Warwick Farm stables had a good meeting wheeling in two winners on the seven-race card.
Trainer Gregory Hickman and jockey Jess Taylor had no worries with three-year-old gelding Bold Dapper ($2.50), it scoring by nearly three lengths in a romp at its 12th start in the Mid Coast Automotive Group 3YO Maiden Handicap over 1250m.
Fellow “Farm” trainer Gabrielle Englebrecht and jockey Matthew Paget combined to score a 2.6 lengths win with four-year-old mare Hollywood Rose ($3.40) in the Weddings At The Winning Post Function Centre 4YO+ Maiden Plate over 1300m, Hickman’s Serket finishing third.
It was Englebrecht’s first trip to Taree and the win was celebrated as she also bred the mare.
Gosford trainer Gregory McFarlane has a speedy “pocket rocket” in three-year-old gelding Go Joyce Go ($4.40) which led all the way for apprentice Mikayla Weir for a half-length win in the Australian Guitar Legends on April 21 Class 1 Handicap over 1000m.
The gelding has had two wins from two starts and at one stage led the field by about three lengths to be eased down near the line.