PORT Macquarie trainer Marc Quinn is dreaming big with promising filly Sylvia’s Memory, who he thinks could be a shock Golden Slipper contender.
But first she’ll have to win on debut at Coffs Harbour today in a 2YO Maiden Plate (800m).
A first start on the NSW north coast isn’t typically where Slipper contenders kick off their careers, but Quinn has been forced to go to Plan B and C with Sylvia’s Memory since she first trialled in Sydney last September.
She won that trial on the Kensington track and Quinn’s opinion of her was so high that he wanted to debut her in the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes at Randwick, but soundness issues halted those plans.
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
PAOLO (Race 2, No.3)
He’ll take plenty out of his debut run, an eye-catching second placing. He gets all the favours from the barrier and should get more running room in the straight.
ATYAAF (Race 3, No.2)
He would have won last-start with a clear passage to the line and is getting better as his first preparation goes on.
BUDDY’S ODE (Race 6, No.10)
He might be able to cause an upset at a light weight. He goes well first-up, loves the track and won his final start last preparation at the provincials.
Race 4: 3,4,13.
Race 5: 4,8,9,13.
Race 6: 1,4,9,10.
Race 7: 2,5,7.
TRAINER TO FOLLOW
Following KRIS LEES shouldn’t hurt your chances, with Paolo, Materiality and Exdream in particular.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
CEJAY GRAHAM rides the highly promising Sylvia’s Memory in the first and has a hope with Guest or Ferniehirst also.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
SHAYNE O’CASS’S BEST BETS
TOULON BROOK (Race 3, No.9)
A Kody Nestor-trained son of Hinchinbrook who showed his talent with a slashing 5.2-lengths win in a Dubbo trial. Looks to have the required talent.
COOL ONE (Race 2, No.10)
Beat just one other home at Kembla last start but her downfall was only a matter of fitness. This is easier, and she’ll be fitter.
PARIS IN MAY (Race 6, No.4)
A granddaughter of the mighty Slight Chance and a stablemate to Cool One. Will use plenty of toe from barrier 1 and take some running down over 900m.
Race 4: 2,3.
Race 5: 1,3.
Race 6: 4.
Race 7: 1,2,3,5,8.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
Sunday punters can breathe a sigh of relief because GREG RYAN is back! When in doubt, Greg Ryan is your man and he has a great book — as always.
“We were going to go to the Gimcrack Stakes after the Randwick trial but she just wasn’t 100 per cent in the week leading into the race,” Quinn said. “She hasn’t come back into work just to run at Coffs Harbour on Sunday. There’s bigger fish to fry over the next eight weeks.
“I wanted to run her in Sydney on Saturday but there was no two-year-old races on. Instead of trialling her again I thought I may as well run her at Coffs and she’ll get a race day experience and it’s $11,200 for first.
“If she comes through this run well she’ll go to Randwick on Australia Day. If she can get through that race too she’ll have a week off then get ready for one of the Slipper trials.”
Sylvia’s Memory is by Bianconi out of Sakhara. Corey Dunn and his father Keith bought Sakhra for $1000 at an Inglis sale and the first horse they bred out of her (Nashian) won her first start before succumbing to a virus and an injury but she’s currently on the comeback trail.
“When we won with Nashian last year Corey told me he’s got her younger sister and if I’d like to trainer her too and I said ‘yes of course I would’,” Quinn said. “I had a look at her and straight away she oozed quality and had a lot of strength and power about her.
“She’s very raw with a lot of speed and is potentially the best horse I’ve had.”
Despite his high confidence levels, Quinn knows anything can happen on race day, but jockey Cejay Graham gets to ride her out of barrier five in the big field, which is a bonus.
“It is a race not a trial and there’s no such thing as a certainty but I’ve gone over it a couple of times and I can’t find anything that finished behind her in her last trial beating her,” Quinn said. “I think she’ll get 1000m at this stage and in six or seven weeks’ time we’ll find out if she can run 1200m.”
Quinn knew she was above average as soon as her galloped her.
“She did things better, faster and smarter than the normal two-year-olds,” he said. “The day I liked her was when I gave her a squeeze out of the barrier at home against a horse that had raced a couple of times and had already won a race and she just jumped two in front and kept running.”
INSIDE MAIL FOR COFFS HARBOUR
RACE 1 (2pm)
It’s all about Sylvia’s Memory here. If she runs up to expectations she should be winning comfortably but these are horses having their first starts (bar one). She trialled well against her rivals — including She’s Leaven and Self Regard but they didn’t look too bad either. The other runner with race experience, In A Step, faded on debut over 800m.
BET: SYLVIA’S MEMORY to win.
RACE 2 (2.35pm)
Paolo’s debut suggested he’ll be hard to beat here second-up from a good gate. He should sit just off the speed and come over the top of them. Named After is on debut after a third placing in an open trial where she was doing it comfortably. Miss Bang was formally trained by Tony Gollan in Queensland but this looks easier from an ideal draw. Bill’s Gift is one to watch with improvement off her last run.
BET: PAOLO to win.
RACE 3 (3.10pm)
Materiality was third on debut over 1100m and naturally the move up to 1300m is ideal as is barrier two. Atyaaf would have won last start if he didn’t strike trouble in the straight at Lismore. Guest flew home over a shorter trip last time and the NSW race experience will be beneficial. Zouki will benefit after struggling to see out 1400m last start.
BET: ATYAAF to win.
RACE 4 (3.45pm)
Londinium will be an improver second-up but will have to put in a three- or four-length better performance to win. Rosy Elsie isn’t going too bad since winning her maiden. Rispetta is the each-way hope of the field if she brings her best. Ruby Two Shoes has the recent form on the board to win again and she’s hard to go past from barrier six.
BET: RUBY TWO SHOES to win.
RACE 5 (4.20pm)
Exdream is a frontrunner who won with authority at Coffs Harbour last start. This is naturally tougher and he gets a wide gate for the first time. Kingaroy is racing well but in lesser grade while San Marco and Hildalgo will be threats if they start. Grenache looks to present nice value after a couple of good runs and he’s won at the track recently. Dangerous Dan could flash home from a wide gate.
BET: Exacta 4, 8.
RACE 6 (4.55pm)
Tarbert is in form and drops 6kg after a last-start second at Coffs Harbour so he’s appealing, but this is a tough test. He does love the track though and should sit in behind the speed. Jexerlent is giving away weight to the field but it’s still easy to see him being a tough horse to get past from on the speed. Ferniehirst races well fresh and is more than capable at this level at a track and distance she loves. Dreamalina is the each-way hope of the field along with Buddy’s Ode, who flies first-up.
BET: BUDDY’S ODE to win.
RACE 7 (5.30pm)
Spirit Of Husson is back in grade despite running a close second up in class last start so that puts him in good stead for this race and he’s won twice at the track. Camayoc is an each-way hope now and drops back from 2018 to the mile, which isn’t always a bad thing. Prince Of Arran gets up to 1600m now which he needs if he’s to win again and he maps well third-up. Lunar Lustre won well last start but this is a jump in grade. It’s not too much of an ask, either.
BET: Quinella 2, 5.
GARRY White’s Wellington-bound duo Paris In May and Cool One were always going to be hard to beat once they got there but when they drew barrier one and two respectively, their chances soared.
White is no stranger to Central West racecourses, enjoying considerable success at places like Orange and Bathurst, and is well on target now for a double at Wellington.
First to go of his pair is Cool One who tackles the Keirle’s Pharmacy Class 1 & Maiden Plate over 2000. The mare is by Hobartville Stud’s own Dane Shadow, a fast horse well known to White, but gets her stamina from her dam, Zeltrice, who is by Zabeel.
Cool One is forecast to improve sharply today off her last start, fourth of five runners in a 2000m Class 1 at Kembla on January 3.
“She might have been a little bit quick up to 2000m at her third run back from a long spell (of 12 months),’’ White said.
“She just wanted to go a bit keen too in the race which probably told a bit at the finish. She is going along well since then and no one rides Wellington like Greg Ryan.
“She has drawn a good gate and I almost wouldn’t be scared to lead. She is the sort of the horse that is better off being let roll along at her pace rather than to jam her up and being dictated to by what the leaders do, so she might be better off leading especially around Wellington. If things go to plan, she’ll be in the first three (in the run).’’
Stablemate Paris May meanwhile is likewise coming off a run where he beat only one other home, that was at Orange in a 1000m race on November 23.
“I don’t know what happened to him at Orange,’’ White said.
“Mathew Cahill said the track on the inside was inferior going and I am prepared to accept that because it was a wet track. He has gone along well since he trialled terrific the other day. He has a good barrier and has another jockey on that rides Wellington well.
“The horses are in good order, they are both fit, and both very good chances.’’
Paris In May is a lightly-raced gelding who has raced four times, highlighted by an emphatic win in a 1000m maiden at Orange where he used his superior pace and speed to run his rivals off their legs with a 2.2-lengths winning margin in 57.92s.
The four-year-old is a son of Golden Rose winner Duporth out of a mare called Danebeam who is a Danehill daughter of six-times Group 1 winner Slight Chance.
Slight Chance is the dam of the aforementioned Dane Shadow as well as Group 3 MRC Sandown Stakes winner, Salgado, who won the 2006 Gosford Cup Prelude for White.