BUSY: Local trainer Greg Bennett will have runners at Armidale and Scone on the weekend. Picture: Ben MurphyGREG Bennett is hoping his bad luck ended with a terrifying car accident on his way to Randwick last Saturday as the Scone trainer prepares for a monster weekend.
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On Saturday he takes four of his stable to Armidale with two – Lucky Nic and Taste Of Money – chasing a $40,000 Watson, McNamara & Watt Guyra Cup (1400m) while he has 13 running at Scone Race Club’s HNWRA Country Championship Qualifier meeting on Sunday where he will have three – All Summer Long, Invienna and Sassaby – lining up in the $150,000 CC Qualifier (1400m).

That the Scone trainer is sporting some bruises and bit of whiplash is good luck.

He and stable foreman, Tina Eveleigh, and Barry McDonald were on their way to Randwick last Saturday with Mister Marmalade in the float and a good chance in the Highway Handicap.

“But we got cleaned up,” Greg Bennett said.

“Had just come off Pennant Hills Road and heading down Beecroft Road when this little old fellow came straight thought a stop sign. He hit us and pushed push into a telegraph wall and brick wall.

“We were very lucky really, only ended up with a few bruises and a bit of whiplash. The horse is okay too but the car and float look like being write offs.”

The lack of a car and float is a “real nuisance” for Bennett but he will be able to make do on what is a huge weekend in the HNWRA with almost half a million in prizemoney on offer at Armidale and Scone.

He is hoping he might be able snip a good portion of that with Lucky Nic and Taste Of Money to be ridden by female apprentices Mikayla Weir and Mollie Partridge while Rachel Murray, who won the Highway handicap at Randwick last Saturday, jumping aboard Settle The Future in the $20,000 Armidale Cup Prelude.

“Lucky Nic will go forward at Armidale while taste Of Money will get back and run on. They should both run nice races. It might be my last race meeting at Armidale too so it would be nice to go out with a win or two. But we will have to wait and see how the conditions are too.”

After Saturday Bennett then turns his attention to a massive day at his home track where he has 13 runners across the eight races, three of them in the $150,000 Country Championship Qualifier.

All three – All Summer Long, Invienna and Sassaby – ran well in the Country Championship Preview won by unbeaten Art D’Amour.

All Summer Long was an unlucky second to Art D’Amour, Invienna a close fourth and Sassaby seventh.

The trio pulled up well after that Preview and worked well since.

“They are all fit and healthy, couldn’t be happier with them,” Greg Bennett said.

“Whoever wins and runs second in this heat will deserve it, it’s a good race, some good horses and going to be a good race. The barrier draw will play a major part in it too. Where they draw will determine how the race is run.”

Scone Race Club will be well represented in the race with Rod Northam likely to have two and maybe three in the qualifier with After All That, promising filly L’Elu and maybe Hooge.

Paul Messara also has unbeaten Caerless Choice engaged. The son of Redoute’s Choice won his maiden at Scone, triumphed at Muswellbrook and then won a enchmark 65 at Scone on November 17.

He hasn’t raced since but finished third in a February 17 trial at Scone behind L’Elu and War Hero.

Stephen Jones, who has relocated to Scone from the Gold Coast, also has Unknown Destiny nominated. A five-year- old chestnut gelding son of Zizou he has won four of his 19 starts including a Highway Handicap win back in April last year.

He has had two runs back, the first a 9.7 length 10th to Zestful in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes at Randwick.

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