By Mark Brassel
Now he’s back in winning form, trainer Nick Olive believes his “work in progress” Poet’s Dash can climb further up the grades at Sapphire Coast on Tuesday.
The trainer scratched Poet’s Dash from Canberra on Friday to concentrate on the Tathra Beachouse Handicap (2200m).
Poet’s Dash was winless in eight starts since claiming his maiden victory at Orange at just his third race start 12 months ago, and the gelding has not been sighted since in the winner’s stall before finally breaking through at Queanbeyan (2000m) on Boxing Day.
“He’s definitely a work in progress despite having had 12 starts,” Olive remarked. “He does a lot of awkward things and tends to tug for more rein early in his races.
“When he won at Queanbeyan he was running third in a slowly run race then Brock [Ryan] took off at the 1000m to lead and they couldn’t run him down.
“He has the ability but it’s a matter of him putting things together. Hopefully that win has now given him the confidence to go on with the job.
“He’ll be backing up a week after the Queanbeyan win and that should also be a benefit as he’s a very fit horse.”
Richard Bensley will partner the four-year-old for the fourth occasion on Tuesday.
Olive will also be venturing to Sapphire Coast with Lovespeed Girl who will be out to break her maiden status, not having won a race in 13 starts to date. The filly will be contesting the previous race on the card, the Geoffrey Simpson Memorial Maiden Plate (1200m).
Lovespeed Girl has finished three successive seconds at Queanbeyan (1460m), Sapphire Coast (1208m) and Albury (1175m).
“She’s an unlucky young horse who is going really well,” Olive said. “She has an awkward draw (barrier 12 of 13) on Tuesday but we’ll have her rolling forward and I’d say she will take some catching.”
Apprentice Brock Ryan will ride the filly for the first time. Olive had nominated the smart Lord Denman (9 starts for 3 wins and 4 placings) for the Tathra Cup at Sapphire Coast but he said he will head to Canberra this Friday with the gelding.
Tuesday’s Sapphire Coast meeting is the ‘Tathra Beach Bowlo Family Raceday’ with gates opening at 12:20pm and the first of seven races jumping at 2:10pm.
“We have free buses to and from the track so racegoers just need to view our website for details of pick-up times and locations,” said Jess Ryan, Sapphire Coast Turf Club’s sponsorship & marketing manager.
“Entry is just $15 and kids under 16 are free, with a free jumping castle, free crafts and games, and a free critter tank with a special guest visiting at 1pm.
“We’re confident the racing will be great and a large crowd will be in attendance.”