By Julieanne Horsman
Canberra filly Clipper will be put to the test in the big smoke when she lines up in the $60,000 Class 2 TAB Highway Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
The three-year-old has recorded two convincing wins from two starts and will be out to extend her winning streak this Saturday.
“She has shown good ability and you have to capture the highway races on the way up so the time is right to have a go,” trainer Matthew Dale said.
On Saturday the filly will get out to 1200m for the first time and based on her previous performances, should do it easily.
On debut in a 1000m showcase maiden at Wagga she beat the field home by four lengths and in a class one 1100m race at Nowra on 10 January she had another impressive victory.
“She took a nice drop behind the speed before hitting the line strongly, indicating she will run a good 1200m,” Dale said.
“She fits the profile of a highway horse and is improving all the time.”
Clipper will have one gallop on the course proper at Thoroughbred Park this week before her race on Saturday.
“On nominations it looks like a good race,” Dale said.
“There are some nice lightly raced horses in the field and she is one of them.”
Stablemate Super Star Bob, who is unbeaten after one start, has also been nominated for the TAB Highway Handicap but Dale will wait until later in the week to decide whether he competes.
“Ideally I would like to give him another run in the country first because he is a bit green but the options are thin and he does have ability,” he said.
Dale has so far claimed five TAB Highway races and another win would elevate him to be equal with Matthew Dunn who is the leading trainer of the series.
Some of Clipper’s owners have also had a taste of Highway success and are hungry for more.
They were involved with Royal Jackpot who won a Highway race at Rosehill Gardens in 2015 before he was retired late last year.