NRRA Country Championships - a runner by runner guide

An in depth look at every runner in the $150,000 Newhaven Park Northern Rivers Country Championships (1400m) at Coffs Harbour on Saturday.

Racecourse : Coffs Harbour
Racecourse : Coffs Harbour Picture: Leigh Jensen / The Coffs Coast Advocate

1. Field Regiment (Stephen Lee, Ballina): It's not ideal coming into a target race on the back of a failure but it might pay to forgive the gelding's failure at Doomben a month ago. He has the tongue tie going on and showed he reacted to it by easily holding Boncassie in a trial at Lismore recently. He has a go forward pattern so the first 200m or so will be crucial to his chances and if he's able to get comfortable at all on the speed he could take some running down.

2. Kapsali (Brett Dodson, Coffs Harbour): Local who enjoyed a super preparation in the winter and early spring and was good enough to win a Benchmark 68 at Gosford in that prep. His first-up run had merit, he contested the Country Cup on Magic Millions Day at the Gold Coast (one of two races run on that day before it was called off) and got up along the inside to run sixth. Though well beaten it was solid and he's fitter for a recent trial where he went stride for stride with an open class horse. Horror draw but good enough to threaten.

3. Fighting Magnus (Graham Payne, Coffs Harbour): Hasn't set the world alight in his three runs this time around after racing in quite good form in the first two thirds of 2022. A battling effort at Murwillumbah a few weeks back third-up and on the evidence of that run he'd have to improve sharply. Trainer won this race two years back with Baileys but this fellow doesn't appear to be going quite as well.

4. Cabsav (John Shelton, Grafton): Started this campaign with a win under a big weight at Murwillumbah in a Benchmark 58 but his three runs since in stronger company have been mixed. Just failed at Ipswich two starts back but over 1100m and he held his ground to run a close fourth in the Preview at Grafton. There has to be a question mark over him at 1400m based on his two attempts so far and he'll need some luck from the draw. Inclined to say he's only a minor chance.

5. Boncassie (Brett Bellamy, Coffs Harbour): It's hard to knock this mare on any grounds going into this race with the barrier draw the possible main negative. Against it she does have some tactical speed. Hit the lead when resuming at this track only to be run down by Swamp Nation, which isn't bad form, and warmed up nicely taking out the Queen Of The North at Port Macquarie. She is a winner at 1412m on a heavy track. Her preparation has been timed perfectly and she's a major player.

6. Liztomania (Aiden St Vincent, Coffs Harbour): If there's a major winner from the barrier draw it's this up and coming four-year-old who landed barrier one. Ran right up to an eye-catching first-up effort at Doomben to score easily at Port Macquarie in a Class 4, though did get the runs through when he needed them. He proven himself at 1400m at Randwick with a close Highway second placing in June and he'll just need the breaks at the right time as he'll probably land around midfield from the barrier. Entitled to be favourite.

7. Olakau'Atu (Brett Dodson, Coffs Harbour): You had to like the way this gelding returned offsetting an outside gate to win easily on his home track before an excellent off pace win at Ballina, chiming in late. Not sure how to read his subsequent Highway effort at Rosehill where on the face of it he seemed to get the right run, moved into the race at the right time but was found wanting late. He has plenty of options from the soft draw, obviously on his home track and if you go on his first two runs back he has to be a contender.

8. Wizard Of Oz (Warren Gavenlock, Coffs Harbour): Carried 60.5kg to an all the way win in a Benchmark 58 at Newcastle on Monday, his first win since last year's Grafton carnival where he scored in the same grade. Whether he backs up is a question mark but if he does he will be part of the speed puzzle. There are others in this race with deeper form credentials so he will need to improve on that win to be competitive.

9. Alf's Magic (Dwayne Schmidt, Grafton): On what we've seen from him recently it's hard to make a strong case and is rightly an outsider. Hit he front momentarily in the Preview at Grafton after enjoying a nice on pace sit then back to 1100m on the Gold Coast synthetic track and he just held his ground. Yet to try 1400m, drawn awkwardly and will need plenty of luck.

10. Bean Foggy (Darren Graham, Murwillumbah): Started $26 in this race last year and finished 11th behind Far Too Easy. Racing in similar sort of form to going into that event. Campaigned on the Gold Coast last preparation for a win and a second and he did chase to the line well first-up at Murwillumbah with Wizard Of Oz just ahead of him. Has a profile to improve with two wins from three second-up attempts but has to find a bit on his 2022 effort in this company.

11. Moyassar (Lisa Sheppard, Grafton): Beat Field Regiment over this trip at Grafton last July in his best performance for the stable. There was some merit in his second-up run behind Swamp Nation and Boncassie and he was tightened up late in the piece at Grafton in the Preview so the 2.7 length margin is not so fair on him. So he's not going badly, it's just up to the gelding to produce a peak run and with the wide gate he'll need to do it while conceding a start.

12. Beef Week Princess (Daniel S Bowen, Lismore): It'll be a handy training performance to bring this mare back from her win over 1900m just over a month ago and be in the finish. But she's had 20 starts so it's worth a shot at this race while she's eligible. She did win a Class 1 over 1400m in 2021 but for the most part her best form has been over slightly further. A soft gate may or may not help her but if she finds herself in a striking position like her latest win it wouldn't be a shock if she rattled into the frame somewhere.

13. Wonderwhen (Daniel Want, Grafton): The eye-catcher from the back out of the Preview at Grafton a few weeks back, it'll be interesting to see if she can lift off that. She found herself midfield from a middle draw in that race and has come up with something similar here. Her only 1400m attempt was her maiden win in late 2021 and she led all the way but obviously in weaker company. Given her only real failure came in a Benchmark 72 at Doomben before her spell you can expect her to run another honest race and is an each-way chance.

14. Moskeeta (SCRATCHED).

15. Noble Missile (Todd Fletcher): A real up and comer who could be a dark horse now he's made the field. Sat wide off an eight week break at Grafton and made a mess of Class 1 opposition a bit over two weeks ago. Has finished first or second in his last six starts and while you'd say he's in a deeper pool this time he has upside and if he can find a spot from his tricky gate he's capable of being competitive.

16E. Sophia's Lass (Daniel S Bowen, Lismore): Another lightly raced galloper, she's also only had eight starts for two wins. To be fair her two runs back have been okay at best though last start she did have 62kg and was left chasing by a tearaway leader. You've got to have a shot but perhaps she's a horse for next year.

1 Field Regiment
2 Kapsali
5 Boncassie

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