By Tony Megahey
Veteran Canberra trainer Gratz Vella is confident he has circumstances to suit for a $60,000 TAB Highway Handicap breakthrough with Wanna Get A What on Hawkesbury Guineas Day on Saturday.
The short-course flyer will carry top-weight of 59kg for Tommy Berry over the 1100m in a typically in depth class-three episode.
Wanna Get A What is coming off a brave second in an Inglis Flying Handicap (1000m) in fast time at Wagga Wagga recently. The three-year-old has the imposing record of three wins from seven starts, twice runner up, and Vella says he never yet been led in a race.
“His last run was enormous and he’s back from an open flying to a class three,” enthused Vella. “He’s a natural free goer this horse and so genuine. He was taken on in front at Wagga, the other horse folded up, the winner is a smart horse, had the sit and only got us late.”
Nicof, a Highway placegetter, beat Wanna Get A What a length after Vella’s speedster previously beat him over 1000m at Canberra.
“It’s the right race to come up for- I like to think we can lead again and Hawkesbury suits front runners. “There’s always pressure in these short course races, but he keeps fighting and is improving all the time.”
However the big issue for Vella is that Wanna Get A What rises to a hefty 59kg from a claiming 52.5kg at Wagga Wagga.
“I realise that, but he’s down in grade and I’ve gone with Tommy, because he’s like a nephew to me. I’ve known the family for many, many years so it’d be nice if we could win one of these Highways together.
“Closest I’ve come is a couple of fourths so I’ll keep trying but I just might have the right horse this time-hopefully anyway.”
Favourite will be Kurt Goldman’s Ruthless Agent (58kg) on the strength of his fourth to talented Pumpkin Pie in the Goulburn Country Championship qualifier in February, a subsequent third in a Royal Randwick Highway race, and Hugh Bowman’s booking.