By Tony Megahey
Goulburn’s Tash Burleigh is striving to maintain the heat at Rosehill Gardens after her $21 chance Fireman Sam I Am won at Kembla Grange last Saturday.
Amidst just a third successful season, the former jockey and stable foreperson for the late Graeme Spackman has high hopes for promising import Bocelli ($3.40 favourite on TAB fixed odds) in this Saturday’s TAB $60,000 Class 2, 1200m episode at the 'Gardens'.
“Oh please, after ‘Sam’ won it’s been so funny, friends posting on Facebook about Tash being on fire,” Tash chuckled after riding dawn trackwork.
At just his third race start, Bocelli resumed and spaced his rivals in smart time in a moderate BM 65 1200m event at his home track on March 26.
Significantly he was backed from $3.60 to $2.60 against just seven opponents.
However, the ease of the win and the time convinced Tash to take on the Highway dominance of neighbouring Danny Williams and prolific series winner Matthew Dunn.
“He was foaled in Japan, his owners have racing contacts there and that’s about all his background I know,” Tash added. “He’s only a little fella with some quirks but he’s exciting, a real work in progress.
“He was really dominant at home - wasn’t a strong field I can tell you that and he’s up in grade and weight. But this is our best opportunity for a city Highway because he’s a class two already in a short time.
“It’s a lot tougher race obviously with those stronger stables that have all those Highways. But we’ve got the good draw and he’s a lovely progressive type.
“I don’t want us leading, we’ll look for cover. From the draw, we’ll be hoping to slot in somewhere near the pace and it’s usually genuine in these races.”
Bocelli has drawn ideally in barrier one for Blake Spriggs with 58kg after carrying 56.5kg winning at Goulburn. Tash rides Bocelli trackwork along with a dozen in work at Goulburn and she has trained nine winners this season.
The upside Bocelli had shown after winning a modest Canberra maiden in fast time on debut in February convinced her to contest the Goulburn's leg of the SERA Country Championships where Williams ran the quinella with highly-rated Kopi Luwak and Pumpkin Pie.
Bocelli then had a let-up and resumed where he was backed heavily and ran up to the confidence winning at Goulburn by a widening two lengths from near last in a field of eight.
Bocelli is equal favourite in Saturday’s sprint where prolific Highway winners Williams and Dunn typically provide strong form lines.
Dunn has accepted with Dia De Reys ($9.50, James McDonald) who has the compelling credentials of Doomben form and a Randwick 1800m Highway win last prep, and dual northern race winner Star Rock ($7.50, Blake Shinn).
Williams has accepted with unbeaten Coup De Main ($3.40 equal fav), dominant at Orange and then winning again at the Wagga Wagga carnival, and Rumba Queen ($19). Coup De Main will be ridden by Nick Heywood who rode a double at Parkes on Sunday and Winona Costin is aboard Rumba Queen.