The Provincial Championships have quickly become a focal point of the autumn for Kembla trainers, with several leading stables set to target the series’s latest qualifier at Gosford on Wednesday.
Gwenda Markwell, Kerry Parker, Theresa Bateup, Paul Murray as well as Robert and Luke Price will all saddle up runners in the 1200m third heat.
Three Kembla-trained runners have already qualified for the $390,000 final held at Royal Randwick on April 9, with an additional three spots up for grabs in the Gosford qualifier.
The Punt takes a look at the Kembla runners chances.
- KEMBLA CONTENDERS
Trainer: Gwenda Markwell, Jockey: Chad Lever
TAB odds: $4 fav
Pomelo is flying with dominant back-to-back wins at Kembla Grange and Randwick and goes into Wednesday as the favourite to progress to the final with good reason.
The stable is happy with the way four-year-old mare has progressed since her latest victory on February 15.
Lever will pilot Pomelo from the tricky barrier 10.
Trainer: Paul Murray, Jockey: Tye Angland
TAB odds: $15
First-up last preparation Flash Fibian ran a slashing second in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m).
If Murray’s three-year-old can recapture the same form first-up in the qualifier the gelding will be right in the finish.
Angland has ridden Flash Fibian in two of his three wins and will jump from barrier four on Wednesday.
Trainer: Robert & Luke Price, Jockey: Kathy O’Hara
TAB odds: $15
The Price’s have already qualified two runners for the Provincial Championships final, with Noble Joey and Budderoo Knight, but are out to make it a hat-trick with Leami Astray.
A four-year-old mare, Leami Astray has been handed an unfavourable draw in barrier 18 but has been set for the race.
“She has given us every indication she will get 1400m later this preparation, she just isn’t a wet tracker. She was in Sydney first start and will be looking for the 1200m,” trainer Luke Price said.
Trainer: Kerry Parker, Jockey: Jay Ford
TAB odds: $21
Parker had Heavenly Anna in career best form last preparation, but Wednesday’s qualifier will be a step up in grade first-up.
The mare has won fresh before and is proven on a rain affected tracks, however Ford will also have to navigate from a tricky draw in barrier 11.
Trainer: Theresa Bateup, Jockey: Jess Taylor
TAB odds: $26
Another first-up runner, Bateup confirmed it was always her plan to target this heat with Giant’s Daughter.
“My aim is to run in this heat, then if she doesn’t qualify, to go in the Kembla one,” the Kembla trainer told The Punt.
Giant's Daughter had three wins and two seconds in five runs last preparation so it would be no surprise to see the mare progress if she recaptures that form.