ANDREW Dale will tick off another achievement in his burgeoning training career when Lautaro runs at Rosehill on Saturday.
The four-year-old’s start in a $85,000 Benchmark 78 (2000m) race will represent Dale’s first city runner after earning his training licence less than two years ago.
Brenton Avdulla will ride the New Zealand gelding and Dale is hoping the highly-rated Sydney jockey can continue his winning run after saluting in his previous two rides for the Border trainer at Albury and Wagga.
Avdulla is sitting fourth on the NSW metropolitan jockey premiership with 55 winners at a strike rate of 11.2 per cent.
Lautaro, who won at Albury last month, will carry 55.5kg and jump from barrier six in his 15th career start.
Dale and his team will arrive in Sydney early Friday morning for the meeting at Rosehill.
“They’re like stepping stones that you have to cross before you can move up,” he said.
“You’ve got to progress and go through certain grades and levels and he’s done those little steps – now he’s ready to take what would be his biggest step.
“I’ve had him for six starts for three wins but it’s worth remembering those wins were in much lesser company than he’ll be in on Saturday.
“He’s nicely weighted and he’s drawn a nice barrier.
“This will be Brenton’s third ride for us – hopefully he makes it a trifecta of wins.”
Meanwhile, a strong field of nominations and acceptances has seen Sunday’s meeting at Wodonga bumped up from seven to eight races.
“It is great to be racing at Wodonga in winter – the track is in great condition and there is strong contingent of local trainers competing,” general manager Tom O’Connor said.
Gates open at 11.30am for the full TAB meeting with the first race at 12.50pm.
Corowa will also host a meeting on Sunday after Racing NSW moved a TAB meeting from Narrandera due to wet weather.
Southern District chief steward John Davidson inspected the Narrandera track this week, with a decision made to move the meeting to Corowa.
Davidson said the move was made to ensure the meeting had the best chance of going ahead.
“We could have given Narrandera a bit longer but the track is very, very wet over the last 100 metres and at best would only be a 30 or 40 per cent chance of racing,” Davidson said.
“Racing NSW are very keen to race to we have transferred the meeting, lock, stock and barrel, to Corowa, which is a good result for the racing industry.”