Moon landing at Tabulam
HIDE The Moon won the 2016 Tabulam Cup and returns to the track today chasing a second cup success in the feature race.
There are five runners in the $7000 Yugilbar Pastoral Co Sam Hordern Memorial Cup (1400m) and Hide The Moon, prepared at Casino by Scott Cumming, has drawn well in barrier two with the 2kg-claiming apprentice Olivia Pickering to ride.
Jodi Worley rode the nine-year-old gelding son of Hidden Dragon at the meeting two years ago with 58kg from barrier three.
The gelding has 57kg today (after Pickering's claim) and would need to improve on his last start unplaced effort at Grafton when he was 13th to stablemate Landmarks.
While he's had just the one start for a win at Tabulam, the Stephen Bennett-trained Traconi is even more successful at the bush track, having won both her starts there including the cup last year.
The seven-year-old daughter of Nicconi is also a last start Casino winner and will go from barrier six with veteran jockey Cyril Small aboard.
Traconi has 61kg in attempting to add to nine career wins from 49 starts.
Small has ridden her in both the Tabulam wins.
Three of the five cup runners are prepared on the Northern Rivers with the Ballina-based Ethan Ensby starting seven-year-old mare Tarlee Lane
It's the daughter of Dubleo's first look at Tabulam and she will jump from barrier three.
He also has the mare in the Lunatic Hotel Drake Class 2 Plate (1000m) on a day where he also has Carrs Creek Kid entered.
Leo Clapham of Casino is another trainer chasing a hat-trick of wins.
He led in winners at Murwillumbah on Tuesday (Schopenhauer) and at Grafton the next day (Crooked Gent).
Clapham will start Piora in the Armfield's Livestock Transport Maiden Hcp (1000m), where the lightly- raced daughter of Sidereus will jump from barrier six with Olivia Pickering's 2kg claim dropping the mare's weight to 55kg.
Hitting the Highway again
MURWILLUMBAH trainer Matt Dunn will fly the Northern Rivers flag in another Highway Handicap in Sydney today.
Dunn, who has won more than a dozen Highway Handicaps since their inception, has last start Highway winner Tristan De Angel in the $75,000 TAB Highway Class 3 Hcp (1400m).
The four-year-old chestnut gelding, a son of Not A Single Doubt, won a 1400m Highway at Randwick on October 13 on a Heavy 9 track and is chasing a fourth career win at just his eighth start.
He isn't the only last start winner in the race with Canberra mare Seeblume and three Hunter and North West Racing Association horses - Carillon, Onya Rosie and The Debater - also entered.
Joseph Ible prepares Seeblume, a five-year-old daughter of Sebring, and has won three from 13 starts with her.
The trio of Hunter and North West runners is headed by Craig Martin's Carillon.
Martin has won the final race at the past two Tamworth meetings with Carillon and stablemate Lookin' Alive and headed to Sydney confident his lightly raced gelding would handle the trip and rise in class.
While Carillon was an impressive last start winner at Tamworth, so too was Lookin' Alive, which blitzed his opposition to win the Class 1 Hcp (1000m) on Tuesday.
He also gave apprentice jockey Grace Willoughby an overdue win for her new boss.
Willoughby is a 27-year-old jockey from Auckland.
She started her apprenticeship in Adelaide before moving to Queensland and, after having some time off, returned at Tamworth this year, re- igniting her riding career with Martin.
"I've finally got a winner for Craig,” she said after Lookin' Alive cruised away from his opponents for a three- and-half-length win on the B grass.
He stopped the clock at 59.61 seconds, the six-year-old gelding son of Lookin At Lucky notching his second win in eight starts.
Willoughby has been apprenticed for about two-and-a-half years and believes her move to Tamworth was the best decision she's made.
"I love it,” she said of the Country Music Capital.
She's also ridden almost 40 winners now, although her latest might give her the most satisfaction, being for her "boss”.