Tamworth trainer Craig Martin is hoping a winning run at home will translate into a Highway Handicap success at Rosehill on Saturday.
Martin has won the final race at the last two Tamworth meetings with Carillon and Lookin’ Alive and heads to Sydney with the talented but lightly raced Carillon for the $75,000 TAB Highway Handicap, a Class 3 event over 1400m.
“Myself and a racing mate looked at the background of a heap of them at the sales and I kept coming back to this gelding,” Martin explained. “The way it’s worked out, we’ve got a nice horse at the right price.
“He’s closed off really strong at both wins. So he certainly deserves a crack in a better grade for that level of prizemoney.
“I wasn’t real keen early on, but after a let-up, he’s developing into a really nice horse for us.
“Saturday is not a big field with a lot of pace, maybe Sugar Dance leads. We’ll likely be looking to settle midfield with cover. And yes, he’s been strong and we’re nicely in at the weights.”
Carillon’s limit is 53kg, reduced further by Sam Weatherley’s 2kg claim – after carrying 59kg and 58kg for dominant wins over 1300m at Armidale and 1400m at Tamworth.
Fellow Tamworth trainer Sue Grills has On Ya Rosie engaged in the Highway Handicap at Rosehill.
Like Carillon, she is a last-start winner, earning her Rosehill trip after two wins at Armidale.
She is one of three starters Grills, who currently leads the Hunter and North West Racing Association trainers’ premiership, has in Sydney on Saturday. Her other runners are Under The Thumb and Helarocity.
The HNWRA will be well represented in the Highway Handicap, with Scone trainer Rod Northam starting The Debater, who is also a last-start winner, in the race.
Northern Rivers trainer Matt Dunn, no stranger to winning Highway Handicaps, has another last-start Highway winner, Tristan De Angel, running as well.
The four-year-old chestnut gelding, a son of Not A Single Doubt, won a 1400m Highway at Randwick on October 13 on a Heavy 9 track and will be chasing a fourth career win at just his eighth start.