Stratford with strong team at Invercargill
By Jonny Turner
The draws haven’t fallen Tony Stratford’s way, but the trainer’s team is showing all the right signs ahead of their missions at Ascot Park on Thursday.
Stratford brings three in-form horses to Invercargill before heading to Timaru with two more strong chances on Saturday.
Outback Man will be out to make it a perfect three from three in the Stratford colours in race 8.
The pacer steps up to take on his toughest test to date, but there is little reason to doubt him going by his two wins so far.
“He's up and grade again, but he's a lovely horse and he'll put his best foot forward,” Stratford said.
“He'll try hard, so there's no reason why he couldn't win again.”
“Given a decent trip, I don't think he'd be a mile away.”
Asta must start from barrier 8 when taking on a handy maiden field in race 7.
The two-year-old showed he has a maiden win in his sights when running a tidy debut second at Ascot Park recently.
“His first run was very good; he's a lovely horse,” Stratford said.
“He's always been a nice horse from day dot, really.”
“It's not a big field though, so hopefully he can overcome that draw.
Tuneinsportsfans will again seek an overdue maiden win in race 2.
Drawing barrier 6 among 7 runners isn’t ideal for the pacer, but his last run suggested he is on the rise.
“I was really happy with his run the other day; he got held up a bit but hit the line really strong, which often enough he hasn't done,” Stratford said.
“He can battle a bit the last little bit, which is probably why he hasn't won a race yet.”
“Definitely the way he went the other day, there are really positive signs.”
“He looks a million dollars, and you'd like to think if he’s anywhere near his best, he wouldn't be a mile away.”
Blair Orange will drive all three Stratford runners at Ascot Park on Thursday.
Stratford will also start two genuine threats at Timaru on Saturday in Dawson and Dreamalittledream.