Gale hoping to end CD season on a high
By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Local horseman Doug Gale will have a three-pronged attack at Manawatu Raceway on Thursday, the club’s final race meeting of the season.
Gale had a pleasing first day of the two-day meeting on Tuesday, picking up a win and a placing with The Kapiti Express and American Me respectively.
The Kapiti Express was pressed forward early by driver Jay Abernethy in the Alabar Weanlings Sell 3rd May Mobile Pace (2000m) but was unable to wrestle the lead off Hezashadowplaya.
Abernethy then set his charge alight three wide with 400m to go and The Kapiti Express was able to get the better of his rivals by half a length to attain victory.
“The track was a bit rain-affected and I thought that would suit him,” Gale said. “He stays very well and it was slightly above my expectations considering the work he did early and the fact he couldn’t get the lead.”
Gale also took plenty of confidence out of the five-year-old gelding’s runner-up performance at the Palmerston North track a week prior.
“He has always raced well when he has led, so the week before I thought he was a good chance of being in the money,” he said.
The Kapiti Express has drawn four on the front row in the City Of Palmerston North Festival Gold Cup (2500m) on Thursday and Gale said he will follow similar tactics to Tuesday.
“It is certainly a harder field this week and he will need a little more luck than he had on Tuesday if he is to figure in the finish,” he said.
“He has drawn handy and he will be raced on the pace again. Whoever is in front early can be confident that if they hand up to him he is not going to hand the lead away.”
The Kapiti Express will be joined in the race by stablemate American Me who will start from the outside of the second row.
American Me finished runner-up in his race on Tuesday and Gale was pleased with his run, but is interested to see how he will handle the two-day back-up for the first time.
“His run on Tuesday was the best run he has put up for a few starts,” he said.
“It’s the first time he has had to back-up two days apart. But he has come home and eaten everything up. I expect another good run from him.”
Gale’s final representative will be Classey Robin in the T Market Fresh Mobile Pace (2500m).
The daughter of Art Major finished fifth on Tuesday and Gale is expecting another bold showing.
“I thought Classey Robin went really well from where she ended up in the field,” he said.
“From one on the second row on Thursday, she is going to need a bit of luck to get off the rails at some point, but she is in good form and she should acquit herself well.”
Reflecting on the season, Gale said it has been a frustrating one for him and many Central Districts trainers, and while they were pleased to retain a dozen meetings in the area, he believes there needs to be more in order to drive interest in the sport in the region.
“I think the turnover that the club has done from the meetings that they were allocated in relation to the other North Island clubs has definitely shown that the original decisions were incorrect (in reducing the number of meetings in the Central Districts),” Gale said.
“I just hope that things can be resurrected in the Central Districts quickly enough to maintain the presence here.
“We need a better and longer season to support activity here. It is too short to encourage owners to take shares in horses and there is good ownership potential in the Central Districts.
“You need more than 10 or 12 meetings to encourage them.”