Trainer Todd Blowes happy with Noble Boy's barrier ahead of $50,000 Country Championships Wild Card at Muswellbrook Race Club



TODD Blowes could not have been happier when Noble Boy drew barrier 14 for the $50,000 Country Championships Wild Card (1280m) at Muswellbrook on Sunday.

"That is perfect," the Queanbeyan-based trainer said.

"The horse gets back in his races and it means he will be out of trouble and Hugh (Bowman) will have all the time in the world to decide where to place the horse.

"There looks to be some speed in the race, so that will suit him while the long straight you have here at Muswellbrook is also a big advantage."

Noble Boy is the equal favourite for the $500,000 Country Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick on April 6 but he still has to qualify by either winning or running second on Sunday.

The other favourite for the final is La Scopa, which ran a record in winning the Grafton heat last Sunday.

Blowes and Noble Boy arrived in Muswellbrook on Wednesday and the trainer said the horse had settled in well.

"He is a very relaxed individual anyway but he is happy and has been licking his feed bin out," he added.

Blowes gave him some light work on Thursday morning mainly to allow the horse to become familiar with the track.

Noble Boy had been unbeaten in his only four starts, including two in the city, but ran fourth in the Goulburn heat of the championship after running into trouble.

Noble Boy is certain to start favourite on Sunday, not only because of his record but also because of the Bowman factor.

The world's leading jockey has wanted to ride Noble Boy in the championship final since he won on him at Warwick Farm early last month.

However, he had to forgo the ride at Goulburn because of his commitment to riding Winx in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on the same day but immediately agreed to ride Noble Boy at Muswellbrook to try and make sure he made the final.

Muswellbrook will have one-and-a-half representatives in the Wild Card with Aleacia Bennett deciding to accept with Art d'Amour after earlier declaring he was a less than 50 per cent chance of running.

Her worry was that he might strike a hard track which cost him any chance in the Tamworth heat.

Bennett decided to accept after being assured by Muswellbrook Race Club's general manager Duane Dowell that there was an exceptional grass cover on the track and that the club would be watering it on the days leading up to the race to ensure it remained a good four.

She told him this would be their one chance to try and get into the final and that they should give it a go.

The half representative for Muswellbrook is the Taree-trained top weight Alot Like Home, which is trained by Matthew Robinson, born and bred in Muswellbrook.

Dowell is delighted with the quality of the program, particularly the fact that so many two-year-olds were declared as starters for the Starmaker.

It gives the club and Racing NSW the opportunity to split the race into two divisions.

The interesting runner in the Starmaker is the unusual New Zealand bred filly Utzon, trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and which runs in race four, the second of the Starmakers.

She is one of the few all white thoroughbreds in the world and has raced twice, for a ninth in the Listed Debutant Stakes at Caulfield last October when favourite and a third, when resuming, in Adelaide last month.

This story Bowman 'factor' reinforces galloper's favouritism first appeared on Muswellbrook Chronicle.