By Tony Megahey
Home turf advantage for Armidale’s young Stirling Osland on Tuesday is as significant as historic home ground edge for Rugby League’s State of Origin combatants.
Leading the Armidale training premiership, Osland is rolling with regular regional winners including Rosehill Gardens TAB Highway favourite Radiant Choice, and Stirling has the numbers for another profitable day for his many followers at Armidale.
The astute young trainer, in just his third season after a stint with the Corstens in Victoria, has trained 20 winners this season after bursting to prominence with a winning treble at the Armidale TAB Cup meeting in 2017.
He rarely misses at home for connections, and Stirling combines with in-form stable rider Ben Looker and Josh Oliver with five value contenders throughout the seven-race TAB programme.
However Stirling assessed his Armidale chances with less confidence that he has in strong Highway prospect Radiant Choice for Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
“We’re happy to take those bigger stables on, the way this horse has come up this prep,” Stirling enthused. “We plan to be on pace a form rider (James McDonald). He was dominant at Tamworth, he’s progressed and he’s been highly competitive in town before.”
At Armidale in the opening event a two-year-old maiden (1100m) Osland is represented by debut runner Leafy Green.
“She’s a nice progressive filly, she’s shown ability in a recent jump out at home, but she’s drawn the outside and at this stage of the season these two-year-old races tend to be dominated by on pacers.”
Stable new comer Arugula contests the second event, also an 1100m maiden.
“This is a his first prep for us from South Australia, he’s going okay at home but on what he’s shown, he probably wants further.”
Acraman is in the 1400m maiden.
“He is just a really consistent trier, he keeps finding one better, but he’s drawn well and is close to breaking through, without knowing a lot about his opposition. “
Last start Quirindi winner First Family contests the BM 60 1400m race.
“He is lightly raced and progressive, and he just puts in every time,” Stirling said. “He won well last start but will need some luck from the wide draw.”
Chardoneri is contesting the class one 1100m race and has started at long odds at several times this preparation.
“She did win her maiden at 1200m, she’ll improve with racing.”
Wyong trainer Allan Kehoe combines with Greg Ryan with a couple of strong chances after Ryan rode a treble at Dubbo on Monday. Armidale at present is rated a good four and fine weather is predicted.