By Ray Hickson
Nothing but quotes from the trainer of every runner in the $150,000 SERA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Goulburn on Saturday.
1. Handle The Truth (Keith Dryden & Scott Collings): “He’s going really nicely, we’re obviously disappointed with the barrier. We’ve got what we’ve got and we’ll deal with it best we can. I would have loved to have one more run under the belt, he went to Sydney without a barrier trial but his fitness is good and he will be competitive.''
2. Common Purpose (John Bateman): “His first-up run was a bit more than I expected so that was a bonus and I think he was just a gallop short at his next run. The blinkers go back on, he’s got his head up and wanted to lay in at his two runs so hopefully they straighten him up. I’m quite happy with the way he’s shaping up.’’
3. Noble Boy (Todd Blowes): “I’ve kept him ticking over, he’s very clean winded and he didn’t need a lot of work. It’s a nice big track and a nice run into the first turn where hopefully Jess can find a spot and switch him off and, touch wood, get to the outside down the straight and run over the top of them.’’
4. Manzana (Joseph Ible): “He’ll go forward as he always does and take up a spot in or close to the lead. I was very happy with how he pulled up from his run last week so I’m happy to have him in the race. The 1400m is a slight query but hopefully he can get an easy enough run to see it out.’’
5. Supreme Polarity (Nick Olive): “He’s probably been a little disappointing this preparation but in saying that I don’t think he’s had them run to suit. Obviously it is a jump in class but he is fit and well.’’
6. Dutchesse Moshe (SCRATCHED).
7. Safe Landing (Kurt Goldman): “It’s probably the best I’ve ever had him going, he’s really tightened up after that win at Warwick Farm. He’s drawn well, the perfect position for him but he’s going to have to be on his A game to be winning a race like this.’’
8. Chewbacca (Danny Williams): “It’s not been a perfect preparation, it’s been a trainwreck really. Running in a 1000m race within 10 days of a 1400m race it’s not perfect, and he’s not 100 per cent comfortable if it is a firm track. He’s definitely good enough, he has the ability but it has been a fight against time with him. He’s there so we’ll wait and see.’’
9. Al Mah Haha (Tash Burleigh): “We were very pleased with him last start, obviously he’s stepping up in distance and it’s a pretty hot looking race. I think if he can settle in a nice position from that terrible barrier he could be in the finish.’’
10. Bocelli (Tash Burleigh): “He’s going into this first-up but he has had plenty of work and a couple of nice jump outs. It was all too much too early last year but he’s matured a lot so hopefully we’ll see a more seasoned horse this time around. From the bad barrier we’ll drop back and he’ll do his best work late.”
11. Our Rosemaree (Terry Robinson): “Her two runs back have been terrific. It was nice the way she finished off her last 100m last time, and hopefully the 1400m will suit her. It’s a strong race as we knew it would be, I think she is up to them for sure especially on her last run.’’
12. Ons Vier (SCRATCHED).
13. Nicconita (SCRATCHED):
14. Seeblume (Joseph Ible): “I’m very pleased with her, she’s been geared towards the race for a couple of months. She doesn’t take a lot of work and 1400m first-up will hold no fears for her. She’d be the top seed of mine.’’
15. Embezzlement (Barbara Joseph, Paul & Matt Jones): “There's not much of her but she has a motor and she keeps on going. I wouldn't mind betting she gets out to 1600m or further. She'll be on the pace or be the pace if she can get her own way. I'd love to see it rain for her but I don't think it will happen.’’
16. Elegant Ellen (Richard & Luke Clarke): “I have her a light jump out on Tuesday down at Moruya and she came through that and pulled up well. She’s a good, honest, country horse and she tries all the time. I’ll be stoked if she runs top six and if she runs well we’ll go the Wild Card at Muswellbrook.’’
17. Napoli (Tash Burleigh): “He’s our little Peter Pan. Things have to go his way. We hope he puts his good Goulburn form to use and runs on strongly. He has good acceleration when he wants to be there.’’
18. Better Than Elle (Michelle Ritchie): “I can’t fault her since her last run, she keeps herself pretty fit. She gets back and finds the line and I’ll be very happy if she is competitive.’’
19. Fun Tickets (Matthew Dale): “Although he hasn’t won for a while he does excel in big fields with pressure on an open track. He’ll get that in this race. He was marginally disappointing at Warwick Farm but he took a long time to balance up and his last 100m was his best work.’’
20(em). Vertex (Ben Borham): "She's had a seamless preparation and has come through very well. She's raced best at a mile and we think she'll get further. I think this is the preparation where she will show her best.''