By Tony Megahey
The confidence of a money trail and a ‘flashing light’ response with marginal luck, could see the promising Vigorish value to build on the TAB Highway record of accomplished Canberra trainer Keith Dryden at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
It’s business as usual for Dryden after he and training partner Scott Collings parted company, and to the eye of most keen judges, Vigorish, a Casino Prince four-year-old gelding, was a trifle stiff not to land an $11 to $7 plunge when a long neck second to Terry Robinson’s Zardoro at the 'Gardens' two weeks ago.
A brilliant ride by Sam Clipperton to secure the vital spit when it mattered late on Zardoro proved the difference.
However, Vigorish ($12 on TAB fixed odds) has circumstances in his favour to turn the tables on Zardoro and other form runners who have precariously drawn wide.
Vigorish has a vital barrier three draw and a kilo weight swing for Blaike McDougall.
And importantly, Dryden is convinced Vigorish will be more seasoned fourth-up and out in distance from 1400m.
Saturday’s $75,000 Class 3, TAB Highway Plate is out to the popular 1500m range.
It remains a capacity field with four emergencies after dual acceptors, Tag and Release, Gold Touch, Pauldron and a Highway ‘nom’ in Assault ‘N’ Bathory have elected to race at Goulburn on Friday.
Tamworth’s Cody Morgan has a particularly strong hand in stablemates Pat’s Nipper and Galapagos.
Meanwhile, Dryden assessed the previous Highway race.
“The winner had the momentum and clear running; we had to stall and get around a tiring leader,” Dryden offered. “Yes, and that little weight swing and the draw are bonuses.
“Logically, he’ll run out the extra distance as he ran second at a 'mile' at Hawkesbury and at the end of a preparation at the Albury carnival.
“But there’s always decent depth in these Highways and in a big field you always need some favours in running.”
The Morgan stablemates, Pat’s Nipper ($12) and Galapagos ($2.80 into $2.40 favourite) have the credentials to make them hard to beat.
Pat’s Nipper was too strong for city-placed talent Burning Crown at Tamworth in April and was unlucky in strong class at Newcastle recently.
Galapagos has the even more convincing form of a four-length third to Chris Waller’s Queensland Guineas winner Kolding and highly-talented Quackerjack at Royal Randwick last month.
Under those circumstances, Vigorish is at better than each-way odds at $12.