Rain No Problem For That’s Molly At Tuncurry (Sat, 24th Feb)

Taree trainer Glen Milligan won’t mind at all if there’s some more rain on the Mid North Coast this week and the MNCRA Country Championships Qualifier is run on a soft or heavy track at Tuncurry-Forster on Saturday.

Milligan’s main contender for the event is five-year-old mare That’s Molly and each of her five career wins have come on tracks rated either soft or heavy.

That’s Molly (Zac Wadick) gets up to score at Coffs Harbour. Image by Trackside Photography

“It’s certainly not an issue what the track conditions are as far as ‘Molly’ is concerned,” Milligan said.

“I actually think she goes just as well on a good track, she just hasn’t won any races on the dry yet, but if you read her form there’s absolutely no doubt she loves the wet so we certainly won’t be bothered if that’s what we get.”

It was always Milligan’s plan to go straight into the qualifier first-up with That’s Molly.

The Championships are restricted to horses that have not had more than five wins or 20 starts and the trainer could not risk her winning another race in the lead-up.

So he has fitted her for the race with three barrier trials and plenty of solid trackwork.

“She’s ready to go,” Milligan said. “She worked terrific on Saturday morning, I was really pleased with her.”

Milligan is also aiming Lion Class and Tayla’s One towards the qualifier. Stratum Chief is another potential runner for him, but it’s benchmark rating may not be high enough to get it a run.

The trainer had planned to run Lion Class and Tayla’s One at the eventually washed out meeting at Taree last Friday and instead had to take them to Newcastle on Saturday and run them in a more difficult race there.

Lion Class finished off well over the 1200m to finish sixth in a 12-horse field, but notorious slow beginner Tayla’s One blew the start yet again and never improved, finishing last.

“Tayla went awful,” Milligan said. “I don’t know whether she had an off day or she just didn’t like Newcastle, but even with missing the start she should’ve done much better than that. She just didn’t run on.

“She was vet-checked and came up fine and she ate up when she came home. I’m hoping it was a one-off bad run, so if everything goes well with her this week she’ll start in the qualifier.

“Lion Class’s run was terrific. I was over the moon with him. The way he hit the line, I’ve got no doubt he’ll run the 1400 metres of the qualifier.”

Fellow Taree trainer Tony Ball is basing his Country Championships hopes around four-year-old gelding Bantarki, which has won four of its 15 starts.

Bantarki ran in the same race as Lion Class and Tayla’s One on Saturday and was doing its best work late to finish eighth.

“He needed to have that run and I thought he ran super,” Ball said. “He did what we needed him to do and he’ll run the 1400 at Tuncurry right out for sure.

“He’s run second on a wet track, so I’m not concerned there. He’ll handle it if necessary. I’ll nominate a couple of others and see if they get in, but Bantarki’s my main contender, for sure.”

– Racing NSW

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