Wagga trainer Doug Vickers has aimed up with Gun Trace’s bid for a fourth straight win, returning from a spell in Saturday’s $35,000 Corowa Cup (1600m).
Gun Trace went 17 starts without a win at the start of his career, before finally breaking through at Wagga in December 2016.
He’d still had just the one win, from 24 starts, by the time he turned seven last year. Then he turned the corner.
“He took a bit of working, that’s all,” Vickers said. “He’s a lovely horse, he just had a few little things wrong with him.. he was a bit of a hot-head in the stables, but he’s calmed down a bit over time, and we’ve finally got him worked out.”
One of only five horses Vickers has in work, Gun Trace started to put it together last preparation, with three wins in a row.
Victory at Canberra in August (over 1750m), was followed by success in a class two at Gundagai (1400m) in September, then a career highlight, claiming the Cootamundra Cup (1600m) in October.
Putting together the ‘picket fence’ form line with a fourth win on the trot would be ideal, but Vickers concedes it’s going to be a tall order coming off a spell.
“The horse is working pretty well,” he said.
“A mile first up, it’s a bit of an ask for him. And a cup race is normally a bit harder. But he is working well and doing everything that he did last preparation so I’m hoping he runs a nice race.
“I certainly don’t think he’s without a chance.”
Apprentice Stacey Metcalfe has the ride, and her two kilogram claim will see Gun Trace carry 52kg. She rode the gelding in a trial at Wagga a fortnight ago, finishing fourth behind Danetrille.
“He trialled quite well, and his track gallop was quite good the other day,” Vickers said. “He’s a front runner and hopefully that little bit of weight (relief) will help.”
The topweight, Ultima Chance (Keith Dryden and Scott Collings) will lump 61kg with Nick Heywood aboard.
Wangaratta trainer Dan McCarthy’s Pittsburgh (55.5kg) and Dave Heywood’s Dyrham Park (54.5kg) are the only other runners with more than 54kg.
Chris Heywood’s Not Too Sure hasn’t won in a year but hasn’t been worse than fourth in its last five starts.
Norm Loy’s Butler Butler backs up after failing in last week’s SDRA Country Championships Qualifier.