By Tony Megahey
The momentum has continued for young Armidale trainer Stirling Osland since he burst to prominence with a TAB winning treble on Armidale Cup day in March.
Osland has six starters at Sunday’s Armidale TAB meeting and he combines with leading regional rider Peter Graham with three strong contenders on an eight-race programme with capacity fields.
Osland, who spent extended time working with the Corstens stable in Melbourne before returning home to start his training career, has landed 28 winners this season, and has rapidly increased stable numbers as his reputation grows.
Former Victorian mare Exilia Miss won convincingly at her second start for Osland over 1900m at Tamworth on Melbourne Cup Day, and will share favouritism ridden by Graham in the Rapidclean Supermarket BM 60 1900m event.
“She carried 59 kilos and it was nice strong win, so dropping five kilos in better grade makes her hard to beat as she’s progressed,” Stirling enthused.
“We’ve only had her six weeks and she’s improved levels from her latest Victorian form.”
Osland and Graham link with consistent Serenade Sunset in the Rapidpackaging and Hospitality Supplies 1400m Maiden.
“She a really honest on pace mare, placed three from four this prep and held on really well in a fast run race at Tamworth so she’s in another suitable maiden.”
First Family has drawn ideally in barrier one for Graham in the Rapidclean Class I 1300m event.
"He drew wide at Tamworth on a day where they weren’t making up any ground," Osland said. "He won his maiden on pace at “Coffs” so he’s race fit and from where he’s drawn should be competitive, but there’s some strong form in the race.”
The O’Gorman trained Pomme La Belle won an Armidale maiden by six lengths at $1.70 beating Serenade Sunset.
In the final event, a Regional Australian Bank BM 55, (1400m) Rage Against is far better than his form indicates and according to Stirling will be a big improver.
“He banged his head at the barriers and was slow out at Armidale, didn’t get any clear running and he struck a heavy ten before that; he’s got ability,” Stirling offered. "He’s a big gross type who needs racing but he had decent form last prep and he’s out to his right distance.”
Armidale at present will race on a good four rating with the rail in the true position.