More pages in this section
Rain a Boost for Hoffman Team for Big Cluden Card
Atherton trainer Sharlee Hoffman is not fazed by the prospect of a rain-affected track for rejuvenated mare Starfilly and five other stable runners at Cluden Park tomorrow.
Hoffman, who is making her mark as one of the north’s leading trainers, says soft conditions will boost the chances of her six starters on the nine-race card.
One of the best draining tracks in the State, Cluden was rated a an improving Soft 6 on Wednesday afternoon despite more than 150mm of rain over the past seven days.
“Anything with the sting out of the ground will be good. A lot of mine go better when the tracks are soft so it’s a plus for us,” Hoffman said.
Starfilly heads the Hoffman brigade and will be chasing her third straight Cluden win when she clashes with the smart Proximate Cause in the NQ Licensed Events B58 Hcp (1000m).
The former promising juvenile has been a revelation for Hoffman since joining the stable in September, winning three of her four starts.
Although drawn wide in barrier 10, Starfilly is primed to run another big race according to Hoffman.
“She had no form when she came to us but she just seems to have thrived here in the different environment on the Tablelands,” Hoffman said.
“I don’t work my horses hard and I think keeping her fresh and the cooler weather here has been the key.
“Her last couple of wins have been very smart, particularly her last win. The wide draw makes it a bit tricky but how we ride her will come down to how she jumps.”
Hoffman will be without the services of in-form stable jockey Lacey Morrison tomorrow and has instead booked Stephen Wilson to ride Starfilly.
Wilson won on the mare at Atherton at her first start for the stable in September.
Hoffman is also expecting her other runners to acquit themselves well, particularly Sylvester in the Gourmet Creek Open Hcp (1000m) and Lapseki in the Good Shepherd Home Mdn Hcp (1200m).
“Sylvester loves the sting out of the ground. He ran home really well at his last start in Cairns to just get beaten by a horse that carried 9kg less,” Hoffman said.
“There’s some smart ones in it but he has gate one and he’s on the limit and I’m excited to see how he goes.”
Akileos, who is on the comeback from knee surgery, will fly the flag for the stable in the last, the On Point Solar and Electrical Cl 4 Hcp (1300m).
She also expects Dutton Brand and Northern Girl to race well in the Bush to Beaches Real Estate Mdn (1000m) and improve as they get into their preparations.
Hoffman is having another stellar year with 16 wins and a winning strike rate of 19%, following on from her tally of 46 winners at 19% last season.
She credits a lot of the success to the strong partnership she has formed with stable jockey Lacey Morrison.
“We just seem to click. There’s no arguments, we talk things through and we get on really well,” Hoffman said.
“She’s brilliant at what she does and you always get an advantage when your jockey is your work rider as well.
“I’m really pleased with how we’re going as a stable. We have 20 in work and probably another six in pre-training.
“We have a great team. My family help out and we have good staff.
“You only get out of it what you put in. Winning races is a boost for your confidence and it makes all of the hard work worthwhile.”
Pictured: Sharlee Hoffman and jockey Lacey Morrison with Starfilly after winning at Cluden in October. The mare is chasing her third straight win.
See the racing calendar for upcoming race day