WITH a prize purse of over $1.4 million and an impressive string of 63 wins to his credit, Dubbo pacer Karloo Mick would appear to have tonight’s $10,000 The Pub Group Gold Nugget (2360m) in the bag.
The veteran of the field at 12, Karloo Mick – dubbed the Dubbo Destroyer – won well over 2300m at Menangle in mid October, then was given a let-up two starts later after a close second to Washakie in Bankstown 2540MS free-for-all on December 1 where the winner clocked a speedy 1min.57.7sec for the trip.
But while the grand circuit performer looks to be the one to beat on paper, one local trainer is very keen to make him earn whatever result he accomplishes tonight.
Tamworth owner-trainer Ken Natty, who will be having his first attempt at a Gold Nugget, will gear up five-year-old Gotta Feeling in thefeature.
Natty has engaged Peter Hedges to do the driving..
He’s also called on Hedges to drive his second crack at taking line honours – consistent pacer and last-start winner Jedi Superstar in the 1609m The Longyard Hotel Pace Final.
Natty freely admits to Karloo Mick being “the one to beat for sure” but that racing against the likes of the 12-year-old will be an experience for all starters in the race.
“It’ll be a great experience for the lot of them,” he said.
“It’s probably a bit daunting – very daunting – to be racing against the likes of him but it’ll give all the others in the race a chance to see just how they’re going.
“It’ll be a good gauge at just where they’re at.
“He’s been a champion old horse over the years and can win from any angle – he can get up and sit outside, or he can lead.
“He just always seems to find another gear.”
Gotta Feeling strung together wins over 1980m in Tamworth 3YO+ and R5 or better back in December, then followed that with a second in the 2422m Inter City Pace heat at Maitland on December 30 before finishing a game fifth in the final six days later.
Prior to his assault on the Gold Nugget, Natty will watch the performance of five-year-old bombshell Jedi Superstar in his C1-C3 feature final.
He’s won three of his last five, including his latest 7.7m win in the 1609m C1-C3 heat last week.
“He’s a big chance, but drawn badly (10),” Natty said.
“His chances will really depend on how much luck he gets during the race.”