Justin Stanley reveals defending Western Racing Association country championship king Good Host is on track for the 2019 heat

THE BID FOR BACK-TO-BACK: Good Host, pictured with Jake Pracey-Holmes, won last year's WRA country championship qualifier and according to trainer Justin Stanley, he's on track for more success in the rich heat. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
THE BID FOR BACK-TO-BACK: Good Host, pictured with Jake Pracey-Holmes, won last year's WRA country championship qualifier and according to trainer Justin Stanley, he's on track for more success in the rich heat. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Justin Stanley’s twin Country Championship hopes may have finished sixth and 10th in the final lead-up run to the February 10 western qualifier but the Narromine trainer says his stable is “right on target” as it eyes more success at the Dubbo heat.

Defending western champion, Good Host and, another of Stanley’s heat hopefuls, Get To The Chopper finished well back from eventual victor, Cameron Crockett’s The Warlord in the Newhaven Park Class 3 Handicap (1375 metres) on Cowra Cup day, but winning was secondary for the pair.

A two-time qualifier winner, Stanley said veteran jockey Greg Ryan gave a glowing endorsement of Good Host’s run while Get To The Chopper’s first-up effort over 1375m brought a smile to his trainer’s face.

The country championship is run over 1400m.

“We’re right on target. We’re very happy with how both horses went,” Stanley said.

“They’re targeted for one race at the minute and we’re stoked with the runs (on Sunday).

Everything has to go to plan and, so far, everything’s working out beautifully.

Narromine trainer Justin Stanley.

“It’s just timing with them. Having them right on the day. Everything has to go to plan and, so far, everything’s working out beautifully.”

The next time both Good Host and Get To The Chopper will run will be the $150,000 heat at Dubbo on February 10, with both completing their 20th career starts at Cowra.

Country Championship rules restrict the rich series to horses Class 5 and below, with 20 or less race starts prior to contesting the regional qualifying race.

HAPPY: Justin Stanley.

HAPPY: Justin Stanley.

Good Host claimed victory in last year’s heat but hasn’t run a place in his five runs since that memorable win at Dubbo in 2018.

Get To The Chopper has been super consistent for Stanley and prior to a 10-week let up the bay gelding didn’t figure worse than fifth in five runs, including a string of places at the Dubbo track.

Like his stablemate though, Get To The Chopper will have to snap a lengthy drought having not saluted since October 2017 at Donald for Victorian trainer Brent Stanley.

“They’ve run nice races, though,” Justin Stanley added.

“And we’ll have The Rouseabout going around at Bathurst next start over 1300, which will suit. His previous runs have been nice and if he can get benchmark points and another win up his leave hopefully he’ll get a run as well.”

Although not able to figure in the Dubbo heat, Central District Racing Association (CDRA) hopeful The Warlord caught Stanley’s attention on Sunday.

ON TRACK: Cameron Crockett's The Warlord, with Mathew Cahill on board. Photo: NICK McGRATH

ON TRACK: Cameron Crockett's The Warlord, with Mathew Cahill on board. Photo: NICK McGRATH

With Cowra hoop Mathew Cahill on board, the Mudgee-based gelding made it two wins in his last three starts with a commanding two-and-a-half lengths victory over a field that included Stanley’s duo.

“I think it’s a real good chance in the central district. Good horse, going places,” Stanley added.

The Mudgee CDRA heat is on Saturday, March 2.

The series begins at Dubbo with the WRA qualifier on Sunday, February 10.

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This story Western’s championship king ‘on target’ for back-to-back qualifier successes first appeared on Daily Liberal.