It's a position trainer Doug Gorrel has never found himself in before with two last start winners shaping up as major chances at Wagga's Australia Day races on Friday. Gorrel, who hails from Wagga and now calls Canberra home, will saddle up Chief Of Arlington and Imitation Game as well as the lightly-raced Three Stooges.
"I have never had three runners at a meeting before let alone two last start winners so it's a nice position to be in," he said.
Gorrel, who has trained 10 winners in his brief career, is relishing the wins with Chief Of Arlington and Imitation Game who both came to his stables from other trainers.
Chief Of Arlington led all of the way to break his maiden status at Wagga, while Imitation Game won his second race for Gorrel at Queanbeyan. Apprentice jockey Carly Frater-Hill, who has ridden both horses previously, will replace the injured Simon Miller. Breaking through at his fifth start, Chief Of Arlington is on the improve and will need to step up again as he moves to 1800 metres in the Class 1 & Maiden.
"He won well over 1600 metres last time and goes up another 200 metres so we will have to hold him together for a bit further," he said. "It's a bit of an awkward draw. I can't fault how the horse is going and I expect him to be hard to beat."
Both horses are raced by large syndicates with Gorrel keeping his stable numbers to five horses with a full-time job. Imitation Game and Chief Of Arlington are perfect examples of horses who have kept paying their way for their owners.
"Imitation Game always races well. It's a nice race for him and he looks one of the hardest to beat along with Trying who is racing well," he added. "Chief Of Arlington ran a couple of nice thirds before winning and is going super at the moment."
Imitation Game was formerly trained by Matthew Dale as was Three Stooges who will be having only his second start: "I have scratched him twice recently because of bad draws and he has a wide gate again, but he will have to start," he said.
Meanwhile, Fish Bones Fry is well fancied to continue trainer Craig Widdison's winning run in the Australia Day Cup. Fish Bones Fry has won two of his three starts for Widdison who celebrated a win at Flemington last Saturday - his fourth for January.
"We have been having a great run and Fish Bones Fry will be hard to beat again," he said.