Timbers' Tales ? Concitare?s heavenly helper
TRAINER Bruce Swan is not a man normally given to sentiment, but just occasionally in the last few weeks he has been casting his eyes heaven ward in search of a sign.
Swan, who moved his base to Grafton from Tamworth 12 months ago, has embarked on a mission to try and win next months Grafton Cup with Concitare.
If he does he will achieve something his father, the late Keith Swan, tried in a life time of training but never achieved.
"I reckon if this horse wins the cup Dad will have had a part to play in it," Swan said.
"That is why it would be so special.
"Everything I know about racing I learned from Dad.
"If Concitare wins the cup I am sure there will be a party in heaven that night."
Keith Swan won a Ramornie with Indian Chief and ran second in the cup with Nyrangi and a dead heat third with Just Kez.
Swan is confident he will have Concitare spot on for the Grafton Cup on July 14.
The horse takes the next step towards that mission when he starts in the Tatts Mile (1600m) at Eagle Farm today, ridden by Scott Seamer.Then he will follow up with a start in the Grafton Cup Prelude (2200m) on Thursday, July 9.
Jockey Zac Purton, who is out suspended at present, has been Concitare's regular rider and will be offered the ride in the Prelude and the Cup.
If he does not accept them the rides will go to Seamer.
Swan is confident Concitare will run a big race today.
He humped 60.5kg to win at Grafton on June 10 at his second run from a let up and drops to 52kg today.
"I wanted to give him a run with a light weight to top him off for the Prelude but I could not believe his early price," Swan said.
In early markets Concitare was quoted at $21.
After the Grafton Cup, Concitare will press on towards the Coffs Harbour Cup on August 4 and the Group Two Newcastle Cup on Sep- tember 15.
nFORMER New Zealand gallopers, Brave Player and Brave Regent, will make their Australian debuts at Broadmeadow this afternoon.
And Wyong's master trainer of stayers, Neville McBurney, who is now preparing the pair, says they are unknown quantities ? to him at least.
"I have only had them for four weeks so I am still learning about them," McBurney said.
Brave Player, a winner of three races in New Zealand and placed several times in black type races over there, will make his Australian debut in the Open Hcp (1400m).
Brave Regent, the winner of a maiden at Ellerslie in November last year, will make his Australian debut in the Class One (1200m).
McBurney's long range plan with Brave Player is the Group Two Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in December.
"He will only have a couple of runs and then go back to the paddock," McBurney said.
"He had a break before he came to me and actually arrived at my place very fit.
"However this horse had a few problems while he was trained in New Zealand.
"He is alright now but I would prefer to give him another break soon then give him a good preparation leading up to the Villiers.
"I think he is a horse that will be best suited at 1400m to 1600 metres.
"Brave Player and Brave Regent are both owned by New Zealand bloodstock agent, Michael Stedman.
"I have done business with Michael several times and eventually he sent me Brave Lancer to train for him," McBurney said.
"I won a race with the horse and he must have thought I could train a bit so he sent the other two over."
Train a bit. On June 13 McBurney won the Brisbane Cup with Portland Singa ? the third time he has won the race.
nPORT Macquarie-trained mare Silk And Money is on trial for the Ramornie Hcp when she starts in the Mick Young Hcp (1200m) at Randwick today.
"If she wins or runs well I will give her a crack at the Ramornie," trainer Pat Quinn said.
"I think she is up to that class.
"She is not a big mare, but she is all heart and her third three starts back at Eagle Farm during the carnival was a top effort."
In that race Silk And Money was beaten only two lengths when she stormed home behind Beautiful Gem.
She was then close up at her next two starts, beaten 3.9 lengths by the same horse in a Listed race at Doomben and five lengths when 11th to Our Sweet Moss in the Dane Ripper Quality at Eagle Farm.
"She did not have much hope in either of those races because she drew wide both times," Quinn said.
"I brought her home and gave her a freshen up and she has thrived.
"Barrier two at Randwick will be perfect for her because she will be able to draw herself into the race."
Quinn might only have six horses at work but he will have runners at three tracks today.
He will also start Best View in the Rheem Hot Water Class Two (1400m) in the Grafton TAB meeting today and Ta- kas in the Legacy Cup (1000m) at the Port Macquarie non-TAB meeting.
Best View has been in great form this preparation with a win over 1400 metres at Port Macquarie and two placings at his previous four starts.
nDARRON Coleman wants to put as much space as possible between himself and Zac Purton. In the nicest possible way.
The Ballina-based Coleman is chasing his fourth consecutive Northern Rivers jockeys' premiership and with 40 winners leads leads Purton by nine.
Purton is out suspended, but returns in time for the start of the Grafton carnival and already has some strong rides organised.
ALLAN Caley won the $25 lucky punters jackpot draw at Grafton District Services Club's TAB last Saturday afternoon and had $12.50 each way on Mi Casa in the last at Rosehill.
Mi Casa might have started favourite but finished seventh after a hard run early. The jackpot is back to $25 for to- day.