By Ray Hickson
Trainer Matthew Dale will have the opportunity to select the horse he sees as the best fit for next month’s The Kosciuszko thanks to a long-time stable client winning a slot in the TAB Everest Day country feature.
Rod Thompson was an owner in Dale’s first ever runner Jumping Jack Flash when he got the popular trainer’s career off to a flying start on October 18 in 2002.
On October 19, some 17 years and one day later, they’ll look back at how far they’ve come from that Queanbeyan Class 4 worth $10,000 as they chase the lion’s share of $1.3 million.
“The dream was if someone I knew, or a stable client or a mate drew a ticket to go on that ride with them,’’ Dale said.
“We grew up in the same town and he’s become a good mate and has a number of horses with me.’’
Thompson is now based in Goulburn and owns a pre-training business in western Sydney called Aquagait and, despite both hailing from Queanbeyan and attending the same university, that made the decision to choose Dale a tough one.
“It was a tricky one for us, we get a lot of support from NSW country trainers and also a lot of the ACT guys,’’ Thompson said.
“The reality was Matty is our biggest client and has supported us the most and it’s good to be able to give something back and give them a start in the race.
“It’s a two way street, Matty has trained a few winners for us. We wanted to keep our options open and secure one of the two Canberra slots and Matt has a good stable with a number of horses that qualify.’’
Dale has a short list of horses that could take their place in The Kosciuszko (1200m) next month and said Thompson will have the final call on his recommendation.
Among them are Notation, Coup De Main, Super Star Bob and Man Of Peace, who Thompson owns a share in, while Fell Swoop will be headed for a spell and is out of contention for the race.
He sees the race as a “moving target’’ and appreciates not having to throw all the eggs in one basket.
“If Fell Swoop had fired on Saturday that would have been practically a given out of my stable,’’ Dale said.
“Notation’s owners are looking to follow the mares path with her at this stage but that could change.
“That leaves him the option of Coup De Main who hasn’t run yet, Super Star Bob who runs next Saturday, Man Of Peace who ironically Rod owns a share in and will be ready in that timeframe.’’
Fell Swoop was sent for a bone scan after his uncharacteristic flop at Moonee Valley last Saturday and Dale is recommending a spell though he will still have X-rays on Thursday to confirm his initial thoughts.
Coup De Main runs second to Noble Boy at Rosehill in December
“Ben Melham said he just didn’t quite feel right. Usually they’ve got heart arrhythmia, bled or broke down and it was none of the above,’’ he said.
Coup De Main was due to make his debut for the stable in the Highway at Randwick last weekend but was left as fourth emergency and didn’t gain a start.
So Dale will run him with a big weight in a Benchmark 64 over 1200m at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
“I’m still learning about him. He’s a big, rolling sort of horse that is hard to get a strong line on through trackwork,’’ he said.
“That’s why we wanted to get to the races last Saturday and have a good look. But we will answer that question this week and see where he sits under race day conditions.’’
Of Dale’s runners in the TAB market, Notation is $11 while Coup De Main and Super Star Bob are $26.