Wet lead-up has Graham playing ducks and drakes with qualifier trio

Port Macquarie trainer Jenny Graham said it was hard to split her three runners on talent in Sunday’s $150,000 Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Taree but has pinpointed The Drake as the best prepared of the trio.

Jenny Graham has a three-pronged attack for the Country Championship Qalifier today.Credit:AAP

Graham already has a Country Championships   trophy in the cabinet from Victorem’s 2018 success and has The Drake, Foxy’s Foxinator and Magnalane headed to Taree aiming to claim one of two spots in the $500,000 Newhaven Park Final at Randwick in April.

“They are all going really well, I’m happy with how they are. As far as fitness goes The Drake is the one that's rock-hard fit compared to the other two,’’ she said.

"They are a bit hard to split. I do like Magnalane, but the gate puts me off. But in my case, there’s not a Victorem that can overcome things.’’

The Drake has had the benefit of three runs in the lead-up to Taree and was an impressive winner at Coffs Harbour on January 12.

Graham said the likely soft or heavy conditions would not be a concern for the five-year-old.

"If he comes out of the machine on the relaxed side, I think he will be right there,’’ she said.

“He is a horse that has ability. He needs to have the race tempo to suit.’’

Foxy’s Foxinator and Magnalane are tackling the 1400m first-up and, as Graham alluded, they haven’t had the best preparations due to race meetings and barrier trials being washed out over the past few weeks.

Foxy’s Foxinator needs the track to stay in the soft range and improve, according to Graham, to have his best chance but otherwise has the ability to be competitive.

"He's going really well and he's drawn well to be just off the pace,’’ she said.

“I'm happy enough with him. He's a 1400m horse.

"Where Magnalane has drawn makes it very difficult, but he is an up-and-coming type of horse. If we can get him tracking in behind something, that would be good. He doesn't need to go right back."

Graham said Awesome Pluck, who was scratched from the qualifier due to the outside barrier, may go to the Muswellbrook Wild Card (1280m) on March 22.

Taree best bets

Race 5: Bill ‘n’ Ted (8)
Race 8: Enchanted Heart (7)

Best value

Race 4: Ocean Nymph (13)

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