By Gary Harley
The aptly-named The Big Vin is set to atone for a luckless defeat at Gosford two weeks ago when he contests the Maiden Handicap (1200m) at Newcastle on Saturday.
A huge animal, The Big Vin barely fits in the barrier stalls and he wasn’t happy in the stalls at Gosford, hence, he missed the start in the small field of five. The three-year-old was held up on the rail for most of the home straight with his jockey Andrew Gibbons desperately angling for a split between the leaders. The Big Vin only saw daylight in the final 20m or 30m to go down by a head.
The Big Vin is trained at Gosford by Kylie Gavenlock and the astute trainer is confident that the spacious Newcastle track - in comparison to the tighter Gosford circuit - will see the gelding breakthrough in his third race start.
“He is much better suited on the big track at Newcastle, however, I would prefer a dry track. The Newcastle track is such a good draining and drying track it should be okay and The Big Vin is in an early race.
"He is generally a quiet horse, but he played up a bit in the barriers at Gosford and he was last away. I am hoping that taking him away from his home track at Gosford will see him settle better in the barriers.
"The Big Vin should have been a Group horse only that he had throat issues as a youngster and he had surgery even before he was broken in. I have had to be patient with him as he is such a big horse and he is rising four-years of age and he is only had two starts. The Big Vin is a brother to Invincible George another talented galloper in my stable,” Gavenlock said.
The popular trainer only recently celebrated the first anniversary to her marriage to former NRL hard man, Terry Reagan.
Mature apprentice Jenny Duggan can continue her successful comeback after a four-year break at Newcastle on Saturday. The mother of two young children, Duggan has a full book of eight rides and gave a dashing ride to land $19 chance Take to Heart, a winner at Wyong on Thursday.
The Brett Cavanough-trained Pamplemousse in the opening event is Duggan’s best ride. The Central Coast apprentice was aboard the three-year-old when he was runner-up to subsequent Gosford winner, Pierina, at the recent Scone Cup Carnival. Pamplemousse had a tough run three-wide with no cover outside the leaders. He has genuine speed and will jump and run over the short course.
Duggan will also ride the Bjorn Baker-trained speedster Gotta Minute in the Maiden Plate (900m). The two-year-old has blistering speed and she has won two recent Warwick Farm trials by five lengths.
David Atkins's mare Longchamp Lass can break through for a well-deserved win in the final event, the 1400 metre Benchmark 64 Handicap. She has been placed in six of her nine starts on the Newcastle track and she will only carry 53½kg after Louise Day's claim.