By Tony Megahey
Former stable allies and enduring racing mates will be formidable opponents throughout an in-depth TAB Sapphire Turf Club meeting on Monday afternoon.
Group-winning ACT trainers, Nick Olive, Matthew Dale and Barbara Joseph have dominant numbers, and the form to provide most favourites on the eight-race TAB programme.
Joseph and Olive have five runners each, and Dale four contenders on the day.
The wash-out of several recent meetings in the Riverina has resulted in regional stables converging on the popular far South Coast circuit to catch up on race fitness and programming.
Olive, of Single Gaze fame, was a long time stable foreman for Joseph, as was another highly successful regional trainer Luke Pepper. Then Pepper became foreman for Olive when he took out a training licence.
Dale with Fell Swoop, and Olive are mates with neighbouring stables at ACT’s Thoroughbred Park. Dale returned home several years ago for a booming career after being a highly respected foreman for John O’Shea at Randwick.
Pepper, also best mates with Dale, has often looked after his charges when Dale has been campaigning interstate. Luke has often ridden Fell Swoop and others in track-work.
“Nick was my foreman for nine years, broke my heart when he left.” Barbara recalled. “But he and Luke started out as young horsemen with our stable; they were dedicated and cluey, and everybody knew they’d eventually be successful trainers in their own right.”
On Monday, Barbara’s best chances are; “Boston Ivy in the fifth, it’s progressed since a good run at Moruya in a maiden. “Inch Perfect ran a good second at Sapphire and will be fitter second up.”
Dale’s Exaggerate in race three is a stand out after successive Canberra and Albury placings.
Olive’s best is Rockin Red Rocket in the seventh event after a Canberra win and placing.