Dubbo Turf Club general manager Vincent Gordon reckons moving the Dubbo heat of the Country Championships to February 10 provides an excellent opportunity for local trainers.
The Dubbo heat is usually towards the end of the calendar, closer to the April final.
This year the country championship, run over 1400 metres, is at the beginning of the qualifying heats.
“The changes are good because it would normally be later in the year, but now it’s our turn to be at the front of the line so it will force some changes for local trainers to the last qualifying series,” he said.
“It changes the preparation of some horses. We were before the final two weeks now the final is two and a half months away.
“Horses will be in a different stage of their regimes and it's now our turn to have that challenge thrown at the trainers.”
Country Championship rules restrict the rich series to horses Class 5 and below, with 20 or less race starts before contesting the regional qualifying race.
Mr Gordon said there would be a plethora of Dubbo trainers looking to succeed at the Dubbo heat.
“There are a few that will be right in the mix, trainers like Clint Lundholm, Cody Nestor, Frank Hayes come to mind,” he said.
“The trainers involved in our area are a chance to have horses likely to qualify, perhaps even some horses that are racing at Parkes today could be in the mix.
The trainers involved in our area have a good chance to have horses likely to qualify.Vincent Gordon
“Clint, Frank and Cody would have a few horses that I would like to think are reasonable chances, the Lund brothers; there are four of those boys who would be looking to get horses into the final.
“Connie Greig, she’ll be preparing horses with the view of running in the qualifier.
"Bruce Parker and Cecil Hodgson will have horses that will be staking a claim for the country championships final and are legitimate chances in the Dubbo qualifying race.
“Of course Justin Stanley, who has two victories in the race has form he no doubt has a runner he is preparing.”
Local trainer Justin Stanley says his stable is “right on target” as it eyes more success at the Dubbo heat.
The Dubbo Turf Club boss said a younger horse with less starts could also be a chance to come through.
“Given that it's an open race there could be a younger horse or one with fewer starts that could be a chance,” Gordon said.
“I reckon Darren Hind could have a sleeper in his stables that could come through. So many trainers are in with a chance at the qualifier, it is a very open race, the interest will be in the field at the qualifier and how they shape up and perform on the day.”
Gordon said punters should keep a close eye on the January 31 meeting at Parkes.
“There’ll be interest in race four in Parkes; it could impact some horses chances,” he said. “If they put a good performance in there and back it up in Dubbo, then that could be the up-and-comer.”