Tamworth trainer Leon Davies will be out to win his third successive Coonamble Cup (1600m) when Clever Hans lines up in the $40,000 race today. Davies won in 2010 with Prussian Secret and Altonio last year. Clever Hans, formerly trained by Rado Boljun in Canberra, has been a model of consistency since joining Davies this preparation. The six-year-old gelding was a last-start third to Southern Shimmer and Double Halo in the Dubbo Cup and has also been runner-up in the Moree, Coffs Harbour and South Grafton cups. “He deserves a change of luck,” Davies said. “He’s just found one better lately but he’s very honest and tries his heart out every time he goes around. Everyone in the stable loves him.” Davies trialled Clever Hans on his home track last month, where he won easily. To freshen the gelding’s mind and keep him sharp for today, Davies sent him over jumps this week. He named the Mark Mason-trained Emotional Outburst as the horse to beat. Davies has a good chance of taking the other feature on the day, the $20,000 Baradine Cup (1300m) with Twin Zero, formerly with Luke Griffith.


Amateur jockey Tim Phillips has been on a hot streak, riding 12 winners from his past 16 mounts. Based at Batemans Bay, he continued his spree with three winners at the Mungery picnic meeting last Saturday. Included in his treble were the $3000 Mungery Cup on board Platinum Touch for Nyngan trainer Rodney Robb. Platinum Touch started at $3.50 and beat the favourite, Poker Pro, and Soswari. It was the gelding’s second picnic cup win after taking the Collarenebri Cup on September 15.


Gold Sultan, a 10-year-old trained by Mark Milton at Gulgong, showed he still retains a zest for racing by winning at Orange on Monday. It was a fitting reward for Gold Sultan after being nosed out three times this campaign, including a second in the Narromine Cup. The gelding was ridden by Nigel Seymour, 36, making yet another comeback to the saddle. Seymour has loads of ability but for varying reasons his commitment to racing has waned on previous occasions.


Clarence River Jockey Club (Grafton) starter Rex Kelly will retire on October 30 to move to the Gold Coast and work with his trainer son, David. The 67-year-old has been with the CRJC for 15 years. Kelly, born in Tenterfield, was a top-flight rider during his days in the saddle, winning 1190 races, in the Northern Rivers, Sydney, Hunter Valley and Queensland. “I just decided it’s time to move up with David and give him a hand before I’m too old,” Kelly said. “All our grandkids are on the Gold Coast as well. I’ve enjoyed my time with the CRJC.”


Important meetings coming up include the $6000 Verandah Town Cup at Lockhart and $6500 Gulargambone Cup next Saturday, and the $15,000 Lennox Head Cup (Ballina) and $40,000 Queanbeyan Cup, $25,000 Thunderbolt and $20,000 Golden Bullet on Sunday.

TAB meetings: Today – Coonamble. Monday – Leeton, Cessnock. Tuesday – Grafton. Friday – Coffs Harbour, Canberra. Saturday – Albury.

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