WANGARATTA-based trainer Andrew Dale has become the first trainer from outside the Southern District Racing Association (SDRA) to claim the trainer’s premiership.
Dale and Albury’s Mitch Beer went into the final meeting of the season at Corowa deadlocked on 36 winners each and after neither claimed a winner, the SDRA premiership was tied.
The SDRA boasts 21 country racing clubs in Southern NSW with wins at any of those tracks going towards the SDRA trainer’s premiership.
Dale said he was rapt to have produced winners over the border and in Victoria.
“It was good to win it but it would’ve been nice to win it outright,” Dale said.
“In saying that though Mitch has dominated in that region over the last three years so to be equal with him is great.”
Dale’s taken a liking to tracks over the border with 137 of his 181 career winners coming in NSW.
“Our horses are just well placed there,” he said.
“If you look at the season and my career overall the majority of winners have been in NSW, we had 45 winners this season and 36 of them were in that SDRA region.
“That tells the story in itself.”
Ben Brisbourne won his third Wangaratta trainer’s premiership in a row after taking out 2020/21 (32 winners), 2021/22 (46) and now 2022/23 (49) with Dale finishing a close second.
“It’s Ben’s third win in a row now so to be four winners off him is really pleasing,” Dale said.
“I was certainly concerned thinking how we’d get to 45 winners when we’re a smaller stable of 25 horses but we just continued to turn over stock and try and place our horses in the right places.
“Ben deserved to win it though, he works really hard and we wish him luck for this season.”
As for a highlight, Dale ended this season in similar fashion to the last when he trained four winners at Corowa, training four at Leeton three days before the end of the season.
“Training four at Leeton was probably the highlight,” Dale said.
“We trained four at Corowa at the end of last season so to do it again at TAB level was great.”
Dale’ start to the 2023/24 season couldn’t had gone any better after he won two races at Wodonga on Sunday.
Garros broke through for win number 10 in race five (0-58 over 2050m), followed by Mescaminto winning as favourite in race seven (0-58 over 1300m).
“We went there with confidence knowing most of the horses we were taking there were in good form coming off Leeton even though it was a lower grade,” Dale said.
“That Leeton form stood up alright and Garros and Mescaminto managed to win.
“Cory Parish showed why he’s a good rider winning on both of them.”
Garros will now likely head to Kerang on Saturday in a 0-58 race, while Mescaminto hasn’t been set a task yet.
“Garros will probably head to Kerang on a quick back up now,” Dale said.
“Depending on what the handicappers give Mescaminto she’ll be nicely placed for another benchmark 58 type race or a (benchmark) 64 fillies and mares.
“Although Mescaminto has only won four races she’s now won over $100,000 in prize money which says a bit about her consistency.”
WORDS: Willson Mack