Maiden races worth $40,000 don’t come around every day so it’s no surprise Orange trainers Sonja Sharp and Michael Plummer are taking the chance to claim the lion’s share of that at Dubbo on Sunday afternoon.
Sharp will send Sass’n’Twinkle to Dubbo in a bid to claim the 1400-metre Milestone Hotel Country Maiden Showcase Handicap Plate’s $19,700 winner’s cheque, with Plummer fielding two chances in Pujols and House Party.
While House Party’s form has been somewhat lacklustre both Sass’n’Twinkle and Pujols have shown enough form to suggest they’re a chance of finally saluting for the first time, both having finished in the minor placings last-start.
One of the Orange trio of runners’ biggest challengers will be Don and Andrew Ryan’s Harrietta.
The Bathurst father-son combination are sending the four-year-old mare by Cox Plate winner Savabeel for her fifth start under their training, and Andrew said he’s stoked to see her on the track, adding the race itself is a big positive too.
“It’s only open to country horses, which is nice because normally a race of that value would be filled up with provincial horses,” he said.
“It’s obviously going to be a very hard race. When you’re putting up $40,000 you can’t just expect them to be giving it out for free.”
“[Harrietta’s] been a bit of a work in progress. It’s taken a while to get her ready to race.
“She’s a bit of a temperamental mare. We had to spend some time working on her.”
The race contains a diverse collection of country connections with trainers from Bathurst, Forbes, Scone, Mudgee, Nyngan, Gulgong, Wellington and Gilgandra all represented in the race.
The Milestone Hotel Country Maiden Showcase Handicap Plate is the third of the afternoon and jumps at 1.55pm.
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