By Tony Megahey
A career first recent TAB winning treble by Armidale’s rising young Stirling Osland confirmed the lofty predictions by the local racing fraternity.
The 27 year-year-old trainer spent lengthy time with the Corstens stable in Melbourne as a pre-trainer and trackwork rider, after a highly successful equestrian career in northern NSW.
In just his third season with a rapidly growing stable in Armidale, Osland produced Closely Related, Zarabeel and Prada Miss for a spectacular treble and 100% strike rate against profile opposition at the recent TAB Armidale Cup Carnival.
Closely Related backs up as one of the favourites in a TAB XXXX Gold BM 55 1400m Handicap for Fillies and Mares on Monday afternoon. She came from near last for a powerful win in the heavy last start at Armidale, and Monday’s surface is assessed a soft 7 with likely upgrade.
“Stirling is a young fella going places in a hurry, the treble certainly didn’t surprise us,” enthused Armidale Secretary-Manager Jim Dedes. “He’s building a really nice team, life-time horseman, knows how to place them. Always produces them a treat, and a lot more to come, I’d say.”
Left: Trainer Stirling Osland (left) at the presentation following Prada Miss' Armidale win. Image by - Bradley Photographers
While Closely Related won on heavy 9, Osland says she is adaptable on any surface, while Zarabeel and Prada Miss have been set for the upcoming Grafton Carnival.
“We’ve got around a dozen in work, some nicely bred, progressive types and we’re having a good run at present,” Stirling offered. “We’d set those three around six months back for the Armidale Carnival so it was really satisfying.
“I came through equestrian and then pre-training, worked with the Corstens in Melbourne. Coming back home and branching out on my own was the natural progression. There’s just the three of us in our operation and we work hard at it.”
Closely Related has drawn an outside barrier 10 on Monday, and will be ridden by last start winning rider Ben Looker: “It’s not an overly tough field, she’s a race fit mare and was really strong at the end of 1400m last time,” Osland added.
The strong local Stitt and Grills stables, and Newcastle’s Group-winning Paul Perry team have strong prospects throughout Monday’s seven-race program.