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Cluden Park
Plan Change for Play Me Now, but Cups Still the Main Mission

Plan Change for Play Me Now, but Cups Still the Main Mission

24th March 2022 | By Tony Wode

A Brisbane trip is off the agenda for rising stayer Play Me Now, but the Innisfail galloper will continue his slow build up towards the northern Cups closer to home at Cluden Park tomorrow.

Play Me Now is a leading chance along with Townsville Guineas winner Namazu at set weights in the TAB Venue Mode C6 Plate (1609m).

Innisfail trainer Stephen Potiris said the recent heat wave and big wet in Brisbane had forced a change of plans with Play Me Now who finished third in last year’s Townsville Cup.

“The original plan was to give him a couple of runs here, two runs in Brisbane to try and win a race down there, and then get him ready for the Cups,” Potiris said.

“We decided with the heat and the wet tracks down there that we’d abandon that and stay here instead. 

“I’ll give him one or two runs here – tomorrow and if all goes well the Mt Garnet Cup -  and then a little freshen-up and the Cups.

“If he won a race in the city he’d be creeping up in the weights anyway and I think the Cups will be very competitive this year. A tough trip away can also mess you around for the rest of the campaign.

“I expect him to run well tomorrow, Ricky Vale’s horse (Namazu) goes good and will be hard to beat.

“It would be nice to get a win but even if he runs second it won’t be a big deal.

“He’s better over more ground, 2000m or more, but he’s tough and he’ll go well at the mile.”

Play Me Now is raced by a large syndicate of owners that includes rugby league luminaries headed by former NQ Cowboys player and Blackhawks coach Aaron Payne, and former Cowboys player Steve Shephard who has been a long-time supporter of the Potiris stable.

The former Victorian galloper was one of the big stories of last year’s Townsville carnival.

Just weeks after arriving from Victoria as a Class 3 horse, the tough gelding won a key carnival lead-up which secured him a wild card entry into the Townsville Cup.

A week later he ran the closest of thirds in the Cup to Fortification after leading for home and looking the winner at the 200m.

This time around Play Me Now will have had the benefit of a lengthy spell and gradual build up to his Cups mission.

He will go into tomorrow’s race third up from a spell, after resuming with an eye-catching third to Strike A Beau over 1400m at Cluden on February 12 and a close sixth to Bullion Wolf over the same trip on February 25.

Potiris has booked Cairns based jockey Amanda Thomson for the ride and said the rise to the mile trip will suit much better.

“Amanda has done a lot of work and she rides good. I could put on the southern jocks but you try to be as loyal as you can by supporting the riders here,” Potiris said.

“At the end of the day you have to look after them, they’re your bread and butter.

“I’ve got a young apprentice as well, Lauren Guernier, whose coming along. We’re just finalising her paperwork so she can do her 20 trials and kick off.”

Tomorrow’s eight-event card at Cluden kicks off with the Knight Frank 2YO Mdn Hcp (1200m) at 12.52pm and winds up with the Mackey Wales Law B55 Hcp (1200m) at 5.20pm.

Pictured: Play Me Now (inside) fights hard to win a key Townsville Cup lead-up at Cluden last July. He continues his path towards this year’s big features at Cluden Park tomorrow.

See the racing calendar for upcoming race day