By Ray Hickson
Trainer Nick Olive is keen to put an Australian Cup "horror show'' behind him as he plots revenge for his outstanding mare Single Gaze at Rosehill on Saturday.
The five-year-old, who contested the Golden Slipper in 2015, had a frustrating three start Victorian campaign that resulted in a Group 1 and Group 2 placing and a luckless fifth behind Harlem in the Australian Cup.
But back to the scene of her biggest success, Olive is keen for Single Gaze to have her chance to turn the tables on favourite Gailo Chop in the Group 1 $700,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
"She’s been so close without winning,'' Olive said.
"She didn’t muster early (last start) and the way the track raced we were planning to be right there.
"We were back second last and had to come around the field, it was a horror show. We didn’t have any chance after they’d gone 200m, I knew she couldn’t win.''
Single Gaze won the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes over the Rosehill 2000m two years ago next week.
She's the $6.50 second elect with TAB to record her second Group 1 win and Olive said despite Gailo Chop's presence - he beat her into second place in the Peter Young and was runner-up in the Australian Cup - she has a few things in her favour.
"I think she gets through the wet really well, she’s as good in the wet as she is on a dry track,'' he said.
"He (Gailo Chop) does hold some fear for us because we haven’t beaten him yet but I feel we are getting closer to him and with an ounce of luck in the Australian Cup we probably would have beaten him.
"He’s up here now and away from his home territory and we are looking forward to taking him on again.''
Olive is hoping the mare can get into stride quickly in the Ranvet to allow jockey Kathy O'Hara to make some use of barrier one or, if need be, direct her to the better going.
"She’ll be positive out, it’s just a matter of how far she wants to go. I don’t think there will be the pace in the race there was last time,'' he said.
HARLEM SHAKES EM OFF!
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) March 10, 2018
Olive's runner in the $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) Sizzling Belle doesn't have the wet track credentials of her stablemate but the trainer is seeing the ground as a plus.
While he doesn't have any data to support his statement he said the Black Opal runner-up does strike him as a wet tracker.
"I do have a strong feeling that she will handle it, her breeding suggests she’ll swim and she has worked on wet tracks on the course proper at Canberra,'' he said.
"I’m preferring a wet track for her because it might even a few things up for her. It might take the speed out of a few of the other ones.''
Most speed maps would have O'Hara and Sizzling Belle taking up the running or at least being in the first three and Olive said that's a likely scenario.
"She doesn’t have to lead, I’d probably prefer to see her box seat, but she normally flies the gates so she will be there somewhere,'' he said.
"With every start she has improved immensely after it and I hope she follows that pattern.''
Sizzling Belle is one of the outsiders in the Slipper at $81 with TAB.