You don’t win the national premiership without putting in the long hours traveling and trainer Cran Dalgety starts that phase of his season at Winton this Sunday.
Dalgety nosed outto win his first trainer’s premiership at the last meeting of last season and while he was strong on his native Canterbury, his regular forays into Southland and Forbury Park ultimately decided the premiership.
He starts that again this Sunday at the Winton meeting and while not bringing huge numbers south he is confident of going away with a win.
“It has been a really good association for us, campaigning horses in the south and gives us options for the owners,” says Dalgety.
“And of course having Dexter (Dunn) there to drive them is a big help.”
Dalgety hopes Dunn can use his expertise to get Abraxas to the front in one of Sunday’s features, the $10,000 Panpacificflight@Macca Lodge Mobile.
“He is a totally different horse when he can lead,” enthuses Dalgety.
“He might only be assessed as a two-win horse but when he leads he races more like an eight-win horse.
“So we think he will be hard to catch and he has a good edge in race fitness.”
Abraxas has proven hard to follow since showing plenty of ability as a two-year-old but it took a smart type in Instead of to down him last start.
Dalgety says while handy mare Optimo Denario goes into the last race on Sunday fresh, she is ready.
“She has had two trials and I am happy with where she is at,” he said.
“And this races suits ideally, being a mile fresh-up.”
He also expects Digital Art, who starts in race eight, to not be a maiden for long but is less confident with her than her stablemates as she has drawn the inside of the second line and faces being trapped back on the markers.
“That may not be a disaster on the big track but it makes it hard to tip her.”
There is plenty of local talent on show on Sunday as well, with in-form trotting mare Bet’s Best chasing her sixth win from her last seven starts in the main trot.
She faces a 30m handicap though over just 2400m but should be aided by the small field.
Andbrings out two of the higher-rated Southland maidens, in Astro Boy (race four) and Pay Me Mach (race seven).
Astro Boy was dynamic winning all his Canterbury workouts last campaign before being purchased for decent money and will be very hard to beat.
And Pay Me Mach is one of the more exciting young pacers in the region and even a second line draw shouldn’t be enough to stop him from winning
Courtesy of Michael Guerin