Newcastle’s multiple Group winners Kris Lees and Paul Perry invariably provide the numbers and the favourites at northern country meetings, but rising young local trainer Stirling Osland isn’t fazed by the challenge at Monday’s Armidale Jockey Club TAB meeting.
Osland, 27, who spent extended time in Melbourne as a pre-trainer and trackwork rider for the Corsten’s stable, has made an impact in just his third season and the winners have been regular since he spectacularly trained a treble at the April TAB Armidale Cup meeting.
“We generally hold our own against the bigger stables, they mostly start favourites up here so we’re happy to take them on,” enthused Osland, who has four lightly-raced gallopers throughout Monday’s seven-race TAB meeting.
Osland has 13 in work and just a couple of stablehands.
“That’s enough for us to manage, and we’ve got some really nice types coming through,” he said.
His best is the consistent First Family to be ridden by Ben Looker from an inside draw in the McDonald’s Armidale Maiden (1300m).
“He’s been placed five of his seven starts so that’ll make him favourite; he races on pace and he’s due to break through in another average maiden,” he said.
“Serenade Sunset was beaten a fair way in a weak race at Barraba, so looks out of her depth.”
In the opening race, another maiden, It’s Relative is resuming from a lengthy spell after a debut fourth in an Armidale maiden.
“We’ve gave him one run as a two-year-old in that Thunderbolt on a heavy track and then turned him out because he was immature and still growing, but he’s a really nice type with ability,” Osland offered.
“He got home really strong and but he’ll be better suited out to 1300 or 1400m.”
Osland has Rage Against in the last event, a McDonald’s Armidale BM 55 (1100m).
“He won a maiden here really well and then he had tendon trouble and a year off. He’s a nice type and he’ll really improve with a couple of runs this time in,” he said.