Before the Narooma Town Plate draw on Wednesday morning, all Norm Gardner wanted was a decent draw for his mare, Caccini.
The Canberra trainer was relieved later that day, upon seeing the final fields, with the five-year-old getting in nicely with gate three and only lugged 55kg for today’s $24,500 event.
“She is going well, this is a big drop in weight for her and she comes out of gate three, which is excellent,” Gardner said.
The Nicconi mare that is part-owned by Tumut residents, Mick, Matt and Dene O’Donovan, has been going along nicely for connections, with recent fourth placings at Kembla Grange and Canberra.
Gardner said he expected Caccini to go close today, citing an illness at Wagga three starts ago that she has finally overcome.
“In the Wagga Town Plate Prelude, she pulled up crook and had a virus and it took a little while for her to come back from that,” Gardner said.
“Her first run back at Kembla was a good hit out and at Canberra she was under done after the virus, but she still she loomed up to win but was just a bit short of the run.
“Still, it was a super run and I think she is going well enough now; she has had a good jump out after Canberra and I am really happy with her.”
Veteran Southern District hoop, Matt Cahill will take the ride and everything points towards Caccini being a major player in the eighth event, the 1300m Open Handicap event.
“Matt takes the ride, she’s placed on a Saturday, she has won a Highway, and really; she should go close,” Gardner said.
Gardner will also have two other locally owned runners in action, with Euro Rhythmic jumping from barrier eight in race six, the 1010m Benchmark 58 Handicap, and Reason To Smile jumping from gate six in the seventh event, the 1300m Benchmark 58 Handicap.
Euro Rhythmic, who ia part-owned by Jeff Kelleher, was disappointing first up at Goulburn on June 12, finishing a distant last, but had excuses after battling a bout of colic.
“On the Friday before Goulburn, she got colic and that’s why we didn’t take her to Corowa and I think it flattened her and she must have been crook,” Gardner said.
Gardner has Brendan Ward in the saddle and is confident of an improved showing today.
“She just never travelled at Goulburn but she looks happy in herself, she looks bright and looks back on track.”
Reason To Smile, who part-owned by Mick O’Donovan, Ray Sanderson, Steve Shanahan and Paul Shanahan, has found a very tough little race to contest and Gardner admitted she just needed the run more than anything.
“That is a tough race for her and we are looking at the Wagga Battlers Cup coming up, so she really just needs to get around safe and sound for Kayla (Nisbet),” Gardner said.