With the buzz of a breakout training season still close in the rear-view mirror, Goulburn trainer Tash Burleigh saddles up two horses (Ribands, $14 with TAB fixed odds and O’So Tempting, $5) at her home track on Monday firmly focused on more of the same in the new racing season.
Burleigh closed off last season with a strike rate not lost on punters. From just 61 runners Burleigh accrued 13 winners, nine at country level and four at provincial level. Her winning strike rate in the bush was 23% whilst at provincial level it was 29%. Her strike rate of finishing in the top three with any runner hovered around the 54% mark. Burleigh was also a six-time winner on her home track at Goulburn.
Burleigh said last season’s results from a limited number of runners was a great thrill: “Going into last season I obviously wanted to train as many winners as possible but with a small amount of horses in work I wasn’t sure how we would go,” Burleigh said.
Some of her results, winning and otherwise, were genuine highlights for the stable: “It was a thrill to take out the first memorial race for Graeme Spackman here at Goulburn with Territorial.
“We also went close a couple of times in town and were pleased to be competitive in the SERA Championships heat with two of our gallopers.
"Apart from that we were just chipping away trying to build numbers. But very happy to get some great results along the way.”
She would love more of the same this season but is realistic about results going her way in a tough game: “We have a full stable now and many more to come in. I would be happy to train even 10 winners this season but obviously with more horses in work we will be aiming for them to find the winners stall as often as we can.”
Burleigh is an unabashed fan of the Goulburn base she has set up: “Goulburn for mine really has been a great place to train as a hopeful new trainer. The horses adapt very well to life here, they thrive in the cooler temperatures and we are only a couple of hours from all grades of racing.”
Whilst not getting carried away about her horses' chances on Monday, she thinks both head to the track in great health and are capable of figuring at each-way odds.
“Ribands is an older horse but he is coming along nicely. He has his little issues that we nurse him though, finding a suitable race for him is a little tricky as he is restricted to a short trip. I was happy with his last start as he did draw poorly and carried a huge weight. He will strip fitter for that run and hopefully with a better draw at home he can run on nicely!”
Her other acceptor O’So Tempting, who burst out of the blocks earlier in the year winning his first two starts, has been placed in two of three outings this time in and will be looking to bounce back off a disappointing result at Kembla Grange last start.
“He is slowly putting it all together. He does over-think things but with more racing, we are hoping he can learn to relax better and make a very nice horse. No excuses last start but it was a handy class two field.
"We decided to put a line through that one and see how he fairs on Monday. Unfortunately, we have drawn terribly (barrier 9), so how he comes out of the gates will determine where he possies up. He has a strong finish but ultimately it will be Richie Bensley’s call when the gates open.”
O’So Tempting finds a deep race again on Monday with horses like Seeblume (Joseph Ible, $4 favourite) and Ribs (Emma & Lucy Longmire, $6) providing stiff opposition. However, the horse has shown a liking for his home track in his short career to date.
Goulburn Race Club CEO, Robyn Fife, said the last meeting at Goulburn was mostly dominated by city visitors but she expects the locals to hit back on Monday.
“We love seeing our locals do well whether at home or away. Goulburn is well represented on Monday with the likes of Kurt Goldman, the Longmire sisters, John Bateman, Wayne Hudd and Danny Williams all saddling up competitive chances,” Ms Fife said.
“Any country meeting between now and October is another chance to showcase potential The Kosciuszko contenders, something which helps add further interest to our weekday meetings.”
Goulburn’s seven-race card kicks off at 12.40pm.