Veteran trainer Harold Norman is confident last-start Ballina Cup runner-up Zigallene can produce a 'get square' with the Matt Dunn stable and go one better in Sunday's Television Kingscliff Cup (1550m) at Murwillumbah.
Norman, now 83, is Queensland's oldest A-class trainer and has been one of the Gold Coast's leading trainers for several decades, guiding the careers of many good gallopers like Count Scenario (1999 Grafton Cup) and Kugelhopf (2003 Toowoomba Cup and Qld Cup).
"I couldn't tell you how many winners I've had over the years, but I suppose I've been training close to 60 years so there'd be quite a few to add up," said Norman.
"I only have about eight in work at the moment and at this stage I plan to keep training for a few more years until I'm 86."
Zigallene momentarily looked the winner of the $65,000 Ballina Cup (1590m) on January 15, until the Dunn-trained Penshurst produced a barnstorming last-to-first finish to win going away by just over three lengths.
The four-year-old mare takes on a couple more of Dunn's runners on Sunday - Marmaris and Malawi Gold, who finished just behind Zigallene in third place in the Ballina Cup - but Norman thinks his mare can get the job done this time.
"We'd set her specifically for the Ballina Cup which I thought was an ideal target for her, and I really thought she was home halfway up the straight," said Norman.
"But Penshurst just stormed home from the tail of the field and proved too good in the end. Still, that horse is absolutely flying at the moment and looks hard to beat again in a city class race (metro meeting at the Sunshine Coast) on Saturday.
"I think Zigallene will be very hard to beat at Murwillumbah on Sunday. She's well-weighted, has drawn the inside and will go forward, so she should be very hard to catch around Murwillumbah.
Zigallene runs second in the Ballina Cup
"She does meet a couple more of Matt Dunn's, including Malawi Gold who wasn't far away from her in the Ballina Cup, so he obviously looks the hardest to beat."
Zigallene, by the Shamardal-Camarilla stallion Ghibellines, was purchased by Norman as a yearling from the stud as he had trained her mother Zigalong as well as one of her offspring Cannyzing (by Canny Lad).
"I think I paid about $20,000 for Zigallene and earlier on I thought she might develop into a Queensland Oaks filly, but last year's Oaks wasn't even run because of the COVID-19 crisis, so I never got the chance to set her for that." he said.
"Still, she hasn't really developed as I'd hoped and isn't up to city class. She has won two races over 1800m and I think she'll get 2000m and I might test her at that trip at her next start after Sunday's race."
Zigallene so far has compiled a handy record of five wins (including three at the Gold Coast) and five placings from her 24 starts, earning just over $100,000 in prizemoney.
Norman has two other runners at Sunday's meeting - Eira in the Benchmark 66 Hcp (1200m) and Sienna's Award in the F&M Maiden Hcp (1200m).
"Eira will need something longer later on, but the filly (Sienna's Award) goes good and should race very well against that field," said Norman.
"She wasn't beaten far in stronger races in her past two runs and drops back to a Murwillumbah Maiden."
Norman gave the three-year-old filly a short break after her two runs back from a spell - a 2.4-length fifth to Better Get Set in an Ipswich 3YO Benchmark 70 on November 25 and a 2.75-length fourth to The Ritz in a 3YO Hcp at the Gold Coast on December 2.
Matt Dunn's stable is always to the fore at Murwillumbah meetings and looks hard to beat with up to 13 runners across five of the seven races on Sunday.
The Dunn team includes Marmaris and Malawi Gold in the Open Hcp (1550m), Uprise, Courageous, Southern Swing, Sweeping The Board and Unimpeded in the Benchmark 66 Hcp (1200m), Wuddacuddashudda and Fire In The Hole in the C,G&E Maiden (1200m), Pieloce and Swatch in the Benchmark 58 Hcp (1010m), and Cane Cutter and Ready To Party in the Benchmark 58 Hcp (1550m).