The odds are with trainer Stephen Bennett heading into two big days of racing at Ballina on Saturday and Monday.
Bennett will saddle up consistent duo Strawberrychampane and Dictatorship in separate race after electing to scratch the latter from the Lennon Hotel Lennox Head Hcp (1410m) on Saturday.
While Bennett will have only the two starters, it’s the record of his ultra-consistent gallopers that should ensure they are again in the finish.
From their past 11 starts, Strawberrychampane and Dictatorship have finished in the top three.
“They have won four races and been very honest all the way through,” Bennett said.
“I have decided to keep them in separate races and hopefully they can be in the finish again.”
Strawberrychampane, who will be ridden by claiming apprentice jockey Kasie Stanley, is up in grade but down in class on her latest win at Lismore on October 20.
The mare is owned by Bennett and was bred by his cousin.
“She has run second seven times and three of those have been at the Gold Coast. Her dam has left a few winners including one in Singapore and her dam won a Group 3 race in Adelaide,” he said.
“She has had four fourths during her own career and is very honest.
“Kasie started riding her when another apprentice wasn’t available and she has done well on her to date.”
Strawberrychampane’s last two campaigns are littered with placings and some wins with only two down the track runs.
“She finished ninth twice and apart from that she has been very consistent,” Bennett said.
“It’s her biggest test on Saturday, but on how she has been going she will be in it again.”
Bennett is also a part-owner of Dictatorship who is racing in career best form as a nine-year-old after two years out of racing.
He will be saved for Monday’s race and can hopefully complete a stable double three days apart.
ARMIDALE trainer Paul Grills hopes tough stayer Kingston Time can be rewarded for his consistency by registering another win at Ballina on Saturday.
The six-year-old gelding steps out in the Elders Lennox Head Benchmark 65 Hcp over 2670m.
“He’s in good order,” Grills suggested. “I gave him a week in the paddock after his last run at Grafton and I’ve given him plenty of work since. He’s working well and gets into a race with a good barrier (one) and a nice weight (54kg) and should get good cover from the barrier.
“He doesn’t mind running placing’s but he keeps returning a cheque and I suppose it keeps his Benchmark rating down.”
Kingston Time began his career with Kris Lees at Newcastle before being purchased by Grills. The gelding is raced by Grills wife Angela Bourke, his niece, Renee Stevenson-Bourke and Guyra-based friends Michael Jackson and Geoff Bell.
From 58 starts Kingston Time has registered four wins and 20 placings. With better luck at times the Benicio gelding should have a better win record but it’s hard to argue with his consistency.
“He’s a beautiful big horse around the stable,” Grills added. “In trackwork he can be a bit strong minded. He either goes out flat out or just pokes along.
“It depends on what mood he’s in. He’s a bit of a character.”
Kingston Time has been racing since late May after coming in early from just a 10 week spell.
“He went to the paddock and sulked,” Grills said. “He lost weight so I brought him back into work.
“He’s a tough horse who loves his racing.”
Kingston Time’s last four runs have produced a 1900m Armidale win and three consecutive placing’s at Grafton, the latest when a half-length second to Hauser over 2358m at Grafton on October 14.
“I’ve been happy with his progress since,” Grills said. “He’s up in grade but apart from the topweight (Samsili) he looks right in the race.”
Glenn Lynch pilots Kingston Time.