OLTRE Finito’s career has been one of near misses, but Coffs Harbour trainer Sally Taylor says he’ll get his chance to win on Thursday at Grafton.
The eight-year-old contests an Open Handicap (1610m) and is coming off a fifth placing at a Canterbury night meeting on January 18. But it was a better run than that and he was just two lengths off the winner Franceso.
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“He probably should have won, if not run a place,” Taylor said. “He couldn’t get out until the last 100m and that’s when he was doing his best work.
“It (class drop) definitely does help, as does the barrier (4). I think the long straight at Grafton is more ideal for him than Canterbury, too.”
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
BEST BET: EDDY WOULD GO (Race 5, No. 5)
We should see the best of Eddy Would Go from a handy enough draw.
BEST VALUE: OSMOND (Race 6, No. 11)
There’s no reason Osmond can’t improve and be prominent after a few nice runs. He’s got plenty of scope.
Race 7: 1, 3, 8; Race 8: 2, 5, 12; Race 9: 1, 2, 3; Race 10: 3, 5, 10
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
TERRY TREICHEL has a number of good chances among an impressive book of rides.
TRAINER TO FOLLOW
MATTHEW DUNN is on fire this season and his horse are always well placed and ready to go.
SCROLL DOWN FOR MATT’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
Oltre Finito won his first three career starts in Victoria in the autumn of 2013. But has only managed to rack up one more win since, and Taylor is still searching for his first win for her since she took over as trainer last July. He’s run a couple of seconds this campaign and is never far off.
“He probably should have won at least three this preparation. He’s an absolute gem now and he’s my favourite in the stable,” she said.
The plan is to ride Oltre Finito conservatively, saving up energy, so he can sprint hard in the big, open straight. Off his last run the mile won’t be a problem.
“He used to overrace a lot and I’ve taught him to settle now so if you can save him up his last 200m is usually his best,” Taylor said. “Once they’re all finishing off his run he’s just starting to make his so hopefully Grafton will suit him.
“If there’s speed I’d like him to settle off it, but if not I’d like to see him box seat on the rails. They generally peel off the fence at Grafton so it won’t matter if he does get a bit stuck because he won’t make his run until they straighten up.”
Taylor’s other runner on the day is Arrogant Boy, who is having his first start for her. He’s drawn out in gate 17 and will be taken to fence and sit towards the rear of the field in a Class 1 Handicap (1206m).
Taylor is still learning about him and has taken the blinkers off and put winkers on.
“He’s quite fiery and I’ve given him one jump-out and he won that impressively,” she said.
“Camayoc (stablemate) ran fourth at Grafton last Saturday and Arrogant Boy flogged him in a track gallop, so if that’s anything to go off he should be competitive.”
Taylor, 25, 13 horses in work. Her win with Rednav in the 2016 Grafton Cup kickstarted her career in a big way and she’s looking to add a few more horses to the stable.
“That was a big deal. It gave me a lot of confidence and put me on the map as far as getting horses. I learnt a lot with Rednav, so I owe a lot to that horse,” she said.
INSIDE MAIL with MATT JONES
RACE 1 (12.40pm)
1. She’s Choosie should continue her winning ways and make it three-straight to start her career. 2. Eurogem finished fourth of four in a trial before her debut, but it was a pretty relaxing day out over 1000m. 4. Our Sweet Dreams got home well on debut and should improve greatly off that.
BETTING STRATEGY: SHE’S CHOOISE to win.
RACE 2 (1.15pm)
1. Kilmarnock will be suited to this trip and is coming off a sixth placing two runs back in Sydney to the in-form Cellarman. 2. Exilia Miss was hitting the line hard over 1900m last start and is fit enough now to be a big player in this staying test. There wasn’t much between 6. Towkash and 10. Golden Words last start but Towkash enjoys a slight weight advantage this time.
BETTING STRATEGY: EXILIA MISS to win.
RACE 3 (1.50pm)
14. Setoka gets a good draw for her first-up run and while it might not be her best distance, she’s had two trials and should be ready to sprint fresh. 2. Longtga was good last start at the track and he will be hard to hold out off that run. 5. The Ridge comes into this with nice enough form.
BETTING STRATEGY: LONGTGA to win.
RACE 4 (2.25pm)
4. My Cousin Meryl can’t draw a barrier but will still be hard to beat, as will 7. Duke Of Fredrick, who has trialled very nicely for this. 10. Vintage Luxe has some claims and should get a good run.
BETTING STRATEGY: DUKE OF FREDRICK to win.
RACE 5 (3.05pm)
2. Bancroft will take natural improvement off a first-up run and should be stronger to the line. 5. Eddy Would Go finally gets an inside draw which should give him every chance to be handy and put himself into it. 3. Foxy Walk was closing off nicely last time and can do it again.
BETTING STRATEGY: EDDY WOULD GO to win.
RACE 6 (3.40pm)
Most of the more favoured horses have drawn wide here, including last-start winner 5. Sckam, who will enjoy getting out to a mile. Will be interesting to see how strong 4. Sepoy’s Choice is over a mile. 11. Osmond gets a 5kg advantage at the weights on Sepoy’s Choice after finishing four lengths off it last start, and it will help. 3. Polemic drops in grade for this.
BETTING STRATEGY: SCKAM to win.
RACE 7 (4.15pm)
8. Oltre Finito should have finished a lot closer in town last start so that form stacks up very well for this race. 3. Red Letter Day can reverse last starts result on 6. Voltaire Lumiere with any luck. There’s no reason 10. Image Of Love can’t do something here with a lightweight. 1. Glitra will be at his best over this trip and was impressive late over 1400m last time.
BETTING STRATEGY: Quinella 1,8.
RACE 8 (4.50pm)
A confidence-boosting win for 2. Latitude could see her take the next step as long as she gets some luck from the gate. Expect 5. Advalady to use her good early speed to press forward again from a wide gate. She’s on the rise and is coming off a breakthrough win but will have to take confidence from that and improve to win this. 12. Just Imagine is a non-winner but you’d be tempted to have her in your multiples after her form this preparation.
BETTING STRATEGY: LATITUDE to win.
RACE 9 (5.25pm)
3. Plectrum is racing confidently and can win again if he finds cover from a wide gate. He may even lead this race. Despite having to carry the top weight, this is a good start for 1. Iggy The Moocher this preparation and he looks in good shape fresh. 2. Makes You Think won on debut and from a good draw expect him to look the winner at some stage. 11. Crooked Gent made up ground well last start and from barrier one won’t have to make a wide run which affected his chances to finish off well last time.
BETTING STRATEGY: IGGY THE MOOCHER to win.
RACE 10 (6.05pm)
3. Dandy Toff was OK last time but a drop in class brings him right into this race from a good draw and he might be able to control this race. 10. Our Boy Ben is probably the form horse of the race and if he continues that, or rain comes, he can win this race. 9. Miss Missile has had two trials and her first-up form is good.
BETTING STRATEGY: OUR BOY BEN to win.