Pressure goes on
THREE-year-old Private Chat is potentially the best horse in Bundaberg but he may need to produce something special to win the Dunmaglas Lodge Class 2 Handicap at Thabeban Park today.
The Mary Hassam-trained gelding has had seven starts for wins at Emerald and Roma, two seconds at Rockhampton and Emerald, and two thirds at Rockhampton and Caloundra.
But he has not raced since being unplaced for the first time, although not disgraced when fifth of 11 at Rockhampton on July 14.
However, apart from resuming from a spell, Private Chat will be having his first start on the track, has drawn the outside barrier 11, has an inexperienced rider in apprentice Bridget Floyd, who is yet to win a race, and is up against a very smart field.
Special Dragon, which won a Caloundra maiden on debut in October 2010 and finished a handy fourth there at his first start for 13 months on December 9, will take a power of beating if he starts.
He is also an acceptor for today's Caloundra meeting but if trainer Greg Grainger opts for Bundaberg, his stead will attract plenty of support.
All Significant, which is trained on the track by Tony Hess and has been thereabouts recently, including a close third at Caloundra at her last outing on November 11, will also give a good account despite also drawing widely in gate 10.
Craiglea Fighter, which is also trained in Bundaberg by Darryl Gardiner, also has claims on his track debut after being placed at Roma, Caloundra and Rockhampton at three of his past four starts.
Gardiner will be represented in each of the five races, with eight runners.
He will saddle up Get Ditty With It, May and Saquarra in the Class B, Morongla (Class 4), Granny McPhee and Hard to Handle in the maiden and Twogundan in the open handicap.
Twogundan has won at the past two Bundaberg meetings on September 17 and November 1 in Class 4 and 5 respectively, while he is also a last-start winner in a Gladstone Class 6 on December 3.
He is up to top grade and is on the minimum weight of 55kg. Noname is the one to beat after winning the premier sprint on the Bundaberg calendar, the Lightning, at his only start on the track.
White Caps, which is also trained in Bundaberg by Dale Wright, should also be in the money again after winning the Ulton Cup at the Bundaberg September meeting, then finishing a gallant second to champion Frenardi here on Melbourne Cup Day.
Widely travelled top weight Montanus, which is trained in Miles by Bevan Johnson and won in Mt Isa four starts back and finished second in Richmond two starts ago before finishing last at Birdsville on September 2, is also a class galloper.
Get Ditty With It deserves to break through after being placed at each of his past four starts, but Deagon-trained Tedonta, which finished in front of him at Gympie two starts back before being unplaced at the Gold Coast, could edge him out again.
Challoman, which won at the Bundaberg September meeting before being runner-up at Gayndah and Gympie then ninth at Caloundra, is suited in the Class 4.
The maiden is a lottery but Empirical Rose, which is now trained in Bundaberg by Lynette Petersen, is favoured despite not being placed in 12 starts.
After midfield runs at her five starts since a spell, at Eagle Farm, Ipswich (twice), Caloundra and Rockhampton, she only has to handle the track to be a chance.