Trainer daring to dream despite weight of expectation
DREAMALINA hasn't won this preparation but is knocking on the door and trainer Neil Godbolt knows she will get all the favours on Tuesday in a Benchmark 65 Handicap (1007m) at Taree.
The four-year-old Dream Ahead mare has had six starts this preparation and despite only placing once, her average losing margin has been one-and-a-half lengths. She does have to carry 62kg, but she's at her best distance, is rock-hard fit and will plough through the heavy going.
She's also won two from seven at Taree and comes out of gate one, which will ensure she is in the first two entering the home straight. That's where she produced her best run this preparation, three starts back in Port Macquarie.
Godbolt said the fact it's only a 1007m race means the big weight shouldn't make much difference.
"She will race well even though she's got plenty of weight because she handles the wet going without any worries," Godbolt said.
"She's never been far away but she hasn't been able to break through so far this preparation. But it can happen this run.
"The trip is her go. She just fails to run out 1200m. I think she's a good chance."
Godbolt decided not to use an apprentice to gain some weight relief, instead booking Matthew Paget.
"We just haven't had the rides we would have liked with apprentices, so we've opted to go with a senior rider," he said.
Godbolt also has Our Trolley Dolly in a Class 2 Handicap (1007m) on Tuesday. The Star Witness filly rises in class off a last-start win at Coffs Harbour.
Two starts before that, she won at Coffs Harbour on a heavy eight surface - and wet form will be hugely important on Tuesday.
Despite Our Trolley Dolly rising in class for this race, Godbolt said she wasn't out of her depth.
"Her form has been pretty good and I'm expecting her to run a decent race even though she's going up in the grades," he said.
"The last win was pretty good because it was a soft win, so if she repeats that she'll be right in the race. She gained some confidence out of it. Half (the field) won't handle the heavy track, but I know she'll get through the going."
Godbolt's best hope of the day is in the first event with Latitude, but she's not a certain starter.
He is contemplating sending Latitude to the Highway race this Saturday at Rosehill, which gives punters an indication of how well she's going after a last-start win.
"She's only 50-50 to go, but if she races at Taree she'll be very competitive," Godbolt said.
"If she goes to Taree, she'd just about be my best bet."
Godbolt has Outsmartem and Nanny Cherie taking on each other in the second race, a maiden event over 1007m. While he expects Nanny Cherie to lead her stablemate to the home turn, he thinks she'll get run down.
"She has speed and will show pace, but might be found wanting late, while Outsmartem has worked OK but has a bad gate," Godbolt said.