The Gordon and Judy Kelso owned Olifants has returned to the winner’s circle after a photo-finish victory at Queanbeyan on Monday.
Ridden by Kayla Nisbet, the five-year-old gave up the lead after the two favourites went along at a fast pace but was caught three wide in the seven-horse field.
Still, the Animal Kingdom gelding, that is prepared by Canberra trainer Doug Gorrel, stuck on strongly before eventually running over the leaders for a 0.12 of a length win in the 900m Benchmark 58 event.
Gordon Kelso, who couldn’t make it to Queanbeyan on Monday, said his trainer was reasonably confident leading into the event.
“Doug was confident the favourite and second favourite would go helter skelter and it was always the plan to go back from the wide gate,” Kelso said.
“I don’t think anyone planned to be three wide but he did well and got the win.”
Kelso, who purchased a large share in the Canberra runner, is more than happy with recent results.
“He has won two and placed one from his last three starts; it has been a good little period,” Kelso said.
Olifants, who was previously trained by Joseph Ible, was a good winner at the Tumbarumba Cup meeting earlier this month before running a good second at the Sapphire Coast on February 15.
Since returning to Gorrel’s stables in late 2019, the talented sprinter has finished no further back than fourth in five starts and has collected $19,555 in prize money.
Kelso believes Olifants is thriving under Gorrel’s astute training regime and his relaxed stable environment.
“Olly is just suited to the way Doug trains because he is very good with these types of horses,” Kelso said.
“He is able to get the best out of them.”
The Kelso’s and Gorrel will hope they can keep their winning form at Yass on Saturday when the take old stager Southern Gamble up for the Yass Picnic Cup.
The eight-year-old, who is also nominated for the Sapphire Coast on Monday, finished fourth in the Condobolin Picnic Cup last start but should be better suited to the firm Yass surface.
The Casino Prince gelding, who has won 10 times in 103 starts, is a proven picnic campaigner and should go very close for connections.