HORSES TO WATCH: Saturday's race guide
Just when you think that local race fields cannot get any better the Gladstone Turf Club bobs-up with virtually capacity fields for its five-race card at Ferguson Park racecourse on this afternoon.
Any wonder club president David Weinert was cock-a-hoop when he perused the fields on Thursday morning after final acceptances were declared.
In total 46 horses are scheduled to race on the sand circuit, justification that trainers are indeed appreciative of the efforts the Gladstone Turf Club perform to make them welcome.
"Yes it is very satisfying to see such supportive fields for the meeting," Weinert said.
"The majority of the original nominations have accepted to start.
"As well we have been inundated by patrons requesting to avail our marquees on-course so the club is expecting a very sizeable crowd."
Just to give an example of the cordiality of the race club, it provides coffee and tea and sandwiches as well as fruit in a room set aside for trainers and strappers to partake of just near the horse tie-up stalls.
There is also ample seating and a television set for them to watch the interstate races all within just a few metres from where their race starters are to be saddled.
Rockhampton jockey Mark Barnham has some very solid winning prospects on the program including Ryan Ibbotson's She's On Point in the opening stanza of the Class B Handicap (850m) at 1.15pm.
As well Barnham should be a hard man to get past aboard the Darryl Gardiner newcomer to Queensland racing in the former New South Wales galloper Penny Shares in the most open race of the afternoon, the QTIS BM 55 Handicap (1194m) at 2.45pm.
Admittedly Gladstone's specialist sand track is a far different kettle of fish so to speak than Canberra and Rosehill where the Magic Albert mare Penny Shades has raced well previously before becoming a "Maroon".
While she resumes from a six months spell today you can rest assured that Gardiner has the Magic Albert mare fit for a first-up tilt at the feature race on the Gladstone program.
Punters be warned, however, it is a race full of very genuine chances.
Miles trainer Bevan Johnson rarely makes the long haul from that centre to Gladstone without towing home a winner in his well-equipped float.
Such should be the case again as he has excellent winning prospects with Blue Jest (Adin Thompson) in the Open Plate (1194m) as well as Murphy's Hustler in the final race the BM 60 (1517m).
In that race hard-working jockey Natalea Summers gets her chance to ride a well-earned winner on the John O'Sing trained Lookslikerain who specialises at Ferguson Park.
One of Queensland's most prolific travelling jockeys, the likeable and dedicated Pietro Rome, who now calls Rockhampton home, has excellent winning hopes on the Joao Campeo-trained Murtahome in the second race the Maiden Plate (1000m) at 2pm.
-trained Murtahome in the second race the Maiden Plate (1000m) at 2pm.