TASMANIA’S multiple premiership-winning jockey Brendon McCoull won his first Newmarket handicap last year when he partnered the Leon Wells-trained Black ‘N’ Tough to victory in the state’s most prestigious sprint event over 1200 metres.
Under lights in Launceston tonight McCoull will be trying to make it back-to-back wins in the $100,000 race but this time on last year’s winner’s stablemate Rebel Bride who was fourth in the event last year.
Under normal circumstances Rebel Bride would be one of the favourites to win the race but the depth of quality in this year’s event is so strong bookmakers could be offering double figures about the mare that boasts multiple wins in the Group 3 Bow Mistress and a record that sets her apart from any mare of the modern era.
Rebel Bride has won 14 of her 31 starts with five feature race minor placings for $560,950 in stakes.
She has earned second top weight of 58 kilograms but that has been compensated by her drawing barrier six which is an ideal gate for her.
While Rebel Bride will have her fair share of support it is two other mares that are likely to dominate betting.
The Charlie Goggin and Luella Meaburn-trained Snippetee Bee and Arenzano from the Barry Campbell stable take winning form into tonight’s race.
Snippetee Bee resumed from a spell with an emphatic win in he Goodwood Handicap in Hobart which is now traditional lead-up race to the Newmarket.
The mare led throughout to win that race and she has been given the chance to mirror that effort by drawing barrier four from which apprentice jockey Ismail Toker should be able to dictate where he wants to be in the first stanza of the sprint.
Arenzano on the other hand must contend with barrier 14 which sees her start from near the outside gate.
However, Arenzano has brilliant early speed and should jockey Anthony Darmanin opt to go forward early he should be able to slot in somewhere in the one-out line.
There are those who believe Arenzano has to lead to win but in a recent trial she sat off Sh’bourne Spirit but had no trouble in running her down over 700 metes at Longford.
Both Snippetee Bee and Arenzano get into the race well at the weights carrying only 54.5 kilograms.
Campbell also saddles up his in-form sprinter Innocent Gamble that will be ridden by top NSW jockey Joshua Parr who is one of 11 interstate jockeys riding in the field of 14.
“Arenzano is going really well and we have had this race in mind for her first-up since she came into work in early August,” Campbell said.
“She’s drawn a bad gate and that doesn’t help but we might be able to get going early and who knows she might even find the front.”
“But she doesn’t have to lead to win so we will be relying on a bit of luck early in the race,” he said.
Innocent Gamble is yet to win in Launceston but his recent trial form has given a hint to his chances of breaking the Mowbray hoodoo.
“Innocent Gamble is probably going the best he has ever gone in any preparation since he arrived in my stables and his two trial wins s have been enormous.”
“We’ve got Josh Par from Sydney coming down to ride him because I wanted a quality rider who doesn’t over use the whip,” he said.
Another mare that rates highly is last season’s Bow Mistress winner Isibaeva that was an eye-catching run in the Goodwood and she also has a liking for the Launceston track.
The only interstate runner is Pitt Street tat was a last-start winner of the Muswellbrook Cup and he is now in the care of the Goggin-Meaburn sable and is likely to find this too short, as his main aim in Tasmania is the Devonport Cup.
Premier trainer Scott Brunton has four engages comprising the top weight (60 kg) Banca Mo that is resuming from a spell along with Hellova Street, Havana Stash and Royal Rapture and all must be considered at least a place chance.
Please note – some information may not be available until the days leading up to the race event.