The Championships beckons for Marc Quinn-trained colt Cogliere

The $400,000 Country Championships Final at Randwick beckons for the Marc Quinn-trained Cogliere

THE Country Championships qualifiers head to Taree this Sunday as some of the best country runners in the land strive for a place in the national spotlight.

A full field is expected to line up for the $150,000 stake, with the winner securing an automatic entry into the Country Championships Final at Randwick worth $400,000.

The Marc Quinn-trained Cogliere stands out from the rest of the field with form behind the likes of Foxplay and Tactical Advantage – which have both performed highly at stakes level.

The three-year-old is looking to bounce back after finishing eighth on its home track at Port Macquarie last start, but there were genuine excuses to explain why it was vet-checked following the race.

“It was only very minor. He had a couple of coughs and the on-course vet gave him a once over because he was the short-priced favourite ($2.80),” Quinn told “That was the only reason why they looked at him.

“It was a shifty track and he came back with dirt all over his chest and facial area, so I reckon he might have got some dirt down his throat.”

Quinn has put in the effort to ensure the son of Pluck is ready to fire on Sunday and return to the form which saw it winning a Highway Handicap at Randwick last month.

“We scoped him the next morning and he was clean with no mucus and no blood,” Quinn explained. “He also trotted up the next morning in front of the vet and there were no issues. We also did a blood later in the week with no issues.”

It’s certainly not the best qualifying race held over the past few years, which is something Cogliere can take advantage of on race day.

“There’s a question mark over a few of the horses in the race at 1400m,” Quinn said. “He’ll be tough at the end of it and he’ll run really well.”

Drawing barrier 15 will be a deterrent for punters, but the talented colt defeated a quality field at Randwick on January 14 after sitting three-wide in the open.

Quinn is resisting the temptation to drop back from the draw and plans to use the three-year-olds natural speed to its advantage.

“That’s not his go (dropping back), unless they go 100mph in the first furlong,” Quinn stated. “I would think he’d be positive out of the gates and see how it plays out the first furlong or two.”

Quinn said Sunday’s race is the grand final for Cogliere, unless of course it qualifies for the Country Championship Final in April.

“Sunday’s the grand final, being a three-year-old if he happened to win it’s $100,000 including the BOBS (bonus scheme), so it’s pretty juicy,” Quinn said.

“You have to win one-and-a-half races in town to win that sort of money and we’re only taking on the locals.

“If he qualifies he will stay in training and head down to that race, if everything’s in order. If he doesn’t, we’ll probably step him up to a mile a couple of weeks later.

“There’s a couple of options for him and we’ll look to see if he’s worthy of going to Brisbane for the winter.”

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