Gratz seeking hat trick with Stephan

Canberra trainer Gratz Vella will have a handy representation at Friday’s meeting on the Acton track, headed by STEPHAN.

The stable always performs at this time of the year and has produced a creditable 12 winners this season at Canberra.

Stephan lines up in Race 2, the Club Lime Benchmark 67, seeking the hat trick.

The 5yo Krupt gelding had his first run in August 2015 placing third in a Canberra Maiden and then was off the scene for nearly three years with a frustrating run of setbacks.

Canberra Connection Strikes At Grafton

Simply Striking saluted at the Grafton carnival Wednesday for Sutton trainer Neil Osborne and Canberra comeback hoop Billy Owen.

Osborne is a regular participant at the carnival and presented Simply Striking (4.00) in top order for the BM 55 over 1100m.

Simply Striking came off a solid fourth at Grafton almost a week ago and Osborne brought him back a touch in trip and put the blinkers on.

“Good gate and good ride”, Osborne said after the win.

Owen said Simply Striking gave him a good feel going to the gates and he gave him the perfect ride.

Premiership winding up

Injuries to jockeys Matt Cahill and Brendon Ward have left the door open for Goulburn-based Richard Bensley to win his first ACT Jockey Premiership.

With just two Canberra meetings of the 2017-18 racing season remaining, Bensley sits six wins behind Cahill who has been on the sidelines with a hand injury incurred in June in a race fall at Wellington.

Cahill finished second in last year’s premiership, two wins behind Ward, whose season was cruelled when he fractured a hip in a track work incident in December.  

Melbourne Spring For Almost Court

Canberra Cup winner ALMOST COURT is back in work with a Melbourne spring campaign planned.

Co-trainer Paul Jones, says Almost Court is likely to target the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes first-up over a mile at Moonee Valley.

Jones says the former New Zealand gelding has been nominated for some of the better spring races and the Dato’ will provide them with an indication of how he shapes up.

“He’s been back in work for five weeks and is in good order,” Jones said.  

Waller to train Single Gaze

Racing Australia has listed Chris Waller as the new trainer of Single Gaze, surprising the Canberra racing community.

The former Nick Olive-trained Group 1 winner was recently farewelled from the capital after being sold to Japan’s Northam Stud as a broodmare.

Olive told Tab Radio’s Steve Hewlett that “it was a bit of a shock for all of us involved to be honest”.

Olive said they were “approached to sell her privately, we decided to sell her on the proviso she would be going to stud in Japan”

Strong Nomination’s For Canberra Friday

Canberra’s Acton synthetic track has again drawn strong nominations for Friday’s meeting.

ACT Trainer Premiership leaders Keith Dryden-Scott Collings have only three horses listed:  Ziganui and Balansa in the Monaro Windows BM 60, and Buddyiz who resumes in the Moby Dicks’s Tavern Maiden.

Nick Olive has nominated five horses with a couple double accepted, and Matt Dale nine.  

Dale’s Belfast Bella creates interest on the Moby Dick’s Tavern Maiden.

Keith Dryden-Scott Collings In Premiership Driving Seat

Canberra’s Keith Dryden-Scott Collings training partnership maintain a 10 win lead in the ACT Trainer Premiership with just two meetings of the 2017-18 racing season remaining.

Pipped at the post last year on the final race day, a first premiership for Collings and another for Dryden would be richly deserved.

They’ve delivered 29 winners at Canberra at a strike rate of 22% delivering more than $571,000 in prize money.

At all venues the partnership has recorded 43 winners in the season this far one fewer than their first year tally as a combination.

Things spice up for Pepper Racing

Canberra’s Luke Pepper stable is in a good space and has been enjoying plenty of recent success.  

SHEZACRAFTSMAN has been leading the charge scoring at both runs for the yard. She is one of a number of former Kiwi’s with Pepper who were brought as future broodmares by Gold Class Racing.

“She came to us with pretty moderate form in New Zealand over a mile and further but has blossomed in our system,” Pepper said.

 “She’s regained her zest for racing.”

Keith Dryden looking to add to score

Keith Dryden looks primed to extend his lead in the Canberra Racing Club premierships with some fancy starters on the synthetic track on Friday.

With a ten win lead from Nick Olive, additional points could be added by the afternoon. 

In the Benchmark 62 Bull Bailey is looking for his third win in a row and Like A Shot, looking for his second win in a row will start in the Benchmark 65 Handicap. 

The first race is 11:45am.

 

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