By Tony Megahey
Okay Aussie punters - it’s time to get 'fair dinkum' on home turf!
With international stars most of the big race-winning focus, there couldn’t be a more appealing Aussie touch than with four-year-old gelding Fair Dinkum, primed to continue a hot TAB Highway streak for accomplished Taree trainer Ross Stitt at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Stitt has won a recent series double and finished second with highly-promising stayer But I Know, and sprinting stablemate Fair Dinkum brings ideal form lines into a $75,000 Class 3, 1200m on another booming multi-million dollar Sydney raceday.
The inaugural $7.5 million Iron Jack Golden Eagle, $1m Redzel Stakes and $500K Rosehill Gold Cup, rivals the excitement levels and theatre of The Everest and The Kosciuszko.
Such is the demand for country connections to be trackside, TAB Highway nominations continue to soar like the 'proverbial Eagle'.
Fair Dinkum returns fitter and primed third-up from a spell after a 'flashing light' photo second in a Royal Randwick TAB Highway five weeks ago.
He brings the admirable record of three wins from 14 starts back to town carrying an appealing 54.5kg for Andrew Adkins.
“We’re having a nice trot, this gelding has really come on after his last run when he looked home, and we’ve set the mare (But I Know) for the Country Classic back at Randwick shortly,” Stitt explained. “She’s racing like she’ll win better races.”
And the quaint naming of the gelding? “Well ol’ Kevin Baker - his owner - is a real gentleman. They knocked Kev back for a few other names.
"Kev got frustrated and said fair dinkum, not again. So he submitted that and it got accepted!” Ross chuckled.
Significantly, Fair Dinkum had six months off before resuming with a Kempsey trial win in August. He was then beaten in the last stride over 1000m by Marokawa in a headquarters Highway.
“He’s been unsound early prep, shin sore and fetlock problems so we turned him out for a decent spell. “Did wonders, this is the best and fittest I’ve had him. Look, the wide barrier is the worry in a big field, but you play the cards you’re dealt.
“He’s got strong 1000 metre form, a turn of foot so we’ll go forward and hope to slot in. That’s up to Andrew, he rode him well last start. “Like I say, he’s fitter now going out to 1200m. As good as I can get him.”
Despite the draw, Fair Dinkum is solid in the TAB fixed odds market at $10 behind early favourite, Paul Messara’s three-race winning mare, Luna Mia ($2.80) way back in grade after a midfield finish in The Kosciuszko won by Handle The Truth.
Also prominent is reserve runner, Matthew Dunn’s Doomben winner Atlantic King ($11) with the booking of Glen Boss.