By Brad Gray
Gosford-based trainer Greg McFarlane heads to Rosehill Gardens on Saturday with the confidence to suggest that both of his runners will figure somewhere in the finish.
McFarlane offered a genuine excuse for Clear The Beach’s uncharacteristic failure last start while he has no reservations about throwing It’s So Obvious into the deep end after her dominant maiden win at the provincials.
“Clear The Beach got his tongue back and over the bit. We’ve dropped him back in distance to try and get his confidence back and then go up again to 1400m later on,” McFarlane said.
“He is a progressive horse and a Saturday quality horse but still has to go to the next level yet. If he comes out and runs to his ability he is going to be right in the mix at the finish.”
The four-year-old son of Sharkbite has been back to the trials since, coasting to the line to take out his heat.
“He never got out of third gear in the trial. We just let him go around do what he had to do and again, build up his confidence as sometimes they can take a little bit of a hit when they misfire like that.”
On Friday, the Rosehill track was rated a Good 4 and although all of Clear The Beach’s form this campaign has been on wet ground, McFarlane said the rating is the least of his worries.
“I don’t mind either way – it can be soft, dry, heavy. He is quite a versatile horse. He can run off nice sectionals on a dry track though and he’ll be in a forward position from the barrier.”
“The rail is out 6.5 metres so it will probably tend to favour front runners so I’ll leave (tactics) to Christian (Reith). It’d be nice to be just right behind the speed but Christian will judge how the early pace of the race is going to be.”
It’s So Obvious won by a space at Newcastle first-up yet it didn’t come as a surprise to McFarlane, or the punters for that matter who sent the mare around at $1.40. Rachel King has been booked for the ride.
“The strength of the race doesn’t concern me, more so the distance of 1500m second-up. I think if she is going to be (city) quality it’ll be over 1400m to a mile though. She works well enough and pulls off sectionals which will have her competitive in this race. There’s no reason not to give her a go with the light weight,” McFarlane said.
“Last campaign she didn’t really know what she was doing and was just ran for the fun of it. This time she is running with a purpose.
“She has taken the natural progression from her first preparation which you always love to see as a trainer so if she keeps going along that line, she’ll be a city class horse for sure.
“I haven’t had a lot of experience with Rachel personally but she is an in form jockey and the experience that I do have tells me is to always get in form riders. Down in the weights, Rachel fits the profile.”
Meanwhile, McFarlane, who was a former champion Australian road cyclist, is looking forward to the new season as his stable numbers are about to swell.
“The team is ticking over nicely. We’ve got a lot of young horses at the moment, a lot of yearlings and two-year-olds coming through the process. It’s a patience game with the young ones but it’s also an exciting time,” McFarlane said.
“We’re doing renovations up here at the moment and they are almost finished. I’ve got 16 in work but as soon as we finish the renovations we’ll have 40.”
— Greg McFarlane (@Gmacracing) June 7, 2017