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Highway Beckons If Flora Blooms At Sapphire Coast (Sunday)

Talented filly Flora Bel could put herself in contention for a Highway Handicap next start if she can win again at the Sapphire Coast on Sunday.

The three-year-old has won her past two appearances at Wagga and Canberra and if she completes the hat-trick, trainer Norm Gardner will push on for the Highway in two weeks.

Gardner has had a lot of success sin the training ranks and likes what he sees in Flora Bel who has been a work in progress since she suffered a fracture to her tibia last year.

“She could hardly walk after her debut and I knew there had to be something wrong when she went so bad,” Gardner said.

“It meant she had to be boxed for a month then have three months off to allow the fracture to heal.

“I thought she could win her first run back at Gundagai, but she ran third and since then has won two straight.”


Flora Bel wins at Canberra on May 24

Flora Bel, a daughter of former super sprinter Bel Esprit, takes on a tough task again in the Class 2 (1208m) where she opposes some impressive recent winners.

Listed among those are More Euros, Shipway, Monegal and Bombdiggity who is coming off a first-up failure in stronger grade in Sydney.

Despite the rise in class, Gardner thinks enough of Flora Bel to know she will be competitive with Jess Taylor in the saddle.

Raced by a large syndicate including Gardner, Flora Bel is a lesson in patience and perseverance for the majority of her owners.

“They have had a few horses with me and none have been much good except for this one,” Gardner said.

“She is a strong filly who is pretty bombproof to train. She eats everything you give her and she has done well since her last run when she was in front early and fought on well.

“I expect her to be hard to beat again and if she wins she will go to a Class 3 Highway in a couple of weeks.

“We have had to be patient with her and it has paid off. It’s hard to win three in a row, but the way she is going she is up to doing that.”

Gardner will also saddle up Trying who is third-up from a break in the Merimbula Jazz Cup.

Irish Lucy has won two of her past three starts and is the horse to beat providing Gypsy Miss doesn’t start after racing at Canberra on Friday.

All the fields, form and replays for Sunday's meeting at Sapphire Coast

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