Local trainers Jim Pender and Brian McKeagg will be looking to improve on their good start to the new season, when the Gartshore's Spring Race programme gets underway at Tauranga from 12.55pm today.

Both trainers based at the racecourse have started the season with two wins.

McKeagg scored his three weeks back at Matamata when On Parole and Cantare scored wins on the same day while Pender saw Ohope Prince come home at Hastings in August and St Saturnin won at Waipa in September.

Today McKeagg has On Parole in race 5, the Tauranga Hardware and Plumbing 2100, a race which also sees another local trainer Anthony Fuller run the old campaigner John Gray.


"The 12-year-old still loves it," says Fuller and with 106 starts and winnings of more than $322,000, John Gray is the top weight.

Fuller also has Mareeba in race 7, after a last start second at Te Rapa.

McKeagg's other start is in race one, when Galloping Gerte has its first start at the races.

Pender has two horses in the same race, The Matamata Vets 1200, which is the opening race of the day at 12.55pm. Falkirk Lass won its last trial and will be one of the favoured starters, while I'm a Shygirl could also make a bold showing.

Pender's best chance may well be in the Paramount Hire 1200, when Acrylic could start favourite while Mania Rose runs in the same race.

Pender rounds of the day with Duke Street running in the last when the eight-race programme winds up at 5.05pm.