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Taree preview: Setting the Pace for a city appearance

Brett Dodson’s 2021 Country Championships hopeful Pace Stick’s march to Royal Randwick starts at Taree on Monday with a 61kg steadier on a heavy track.That said, there is more in Pace Stick’s favour than against, not least his class.Dodson’s aptly-named grey hasn’t raced since leading throughout to win at Taree on October 16 but could…

Brett Dodson’s 2021 Country Championships hopeful Pace Stick’s march to Royal Randwick starts at Taree on Monday with a 61kg steadier on a heavy track.

That said, there is more in Pace Stick’s favour than against, not least his class.

Dodson’s aptly-named grey hasn’t raced since leading throughout to win at Taree on October 16 but could not have been more impressive winning a trial at Ballina eight-days ago by six-lengths.

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“I had him in Brisbane the day before the trial and he got balloted out so the stewards were kind enough to let me trial him the other day and he trialled very impressively, we just let him go through his gears,’’ Dodson said.

“My working plan is to get him right for Championships day and I wanted him to have two runs in. I was hoping to go around in Brisbane and maybe the Preview at Grafton on the 24th of January.

“As it turns out, we will go around at Taree on Monday and then I will toss up whether I go to Grafton or to Newcastle a week later for a ratings race down there just to work in well to have him for ready the Qualifier on the 13th of February at Coffs Harbour.’’

If Pace Stick is to make it to the Final at Royal Randwick on April 3, he will have to have run first or second in the Qualifier over 1400m; bearing in mind he hasn’t been tried beyond 1250m.

Dodson, who trained the horse’s dam Public Display to win from 900m to 1400m, has no worries that his rocket-like son of Jet Spur will be up to the task.

“I think he has been screaming out for it (1400m), Dodson says, “That’s my opinion.

“The furthest he has gone was 1250m at his last start at Taree and he was very strong on the line and every jockey who has got off him has said he only just keeps finding what he has to and they think he will be better rolling along over 1400m.

“He has got a good high cruising speed and a good kick which all makes me think that he will run a good 1400m.’’

Pace Stick has raced eight times and at seven different tracks but on Monday will be the first time he has ever experienced it in the Heavy range.

‘’He had a gallop on a very heavy track here before the last Coffs Harbour meeting and the track was a Heavy 10 and he got through it OK,’’ Dodson said.

“I think he is probably better off on softer ground because he has been shin-sore a few times so I would like the jar out but rather it not be heavy but we have really got to get the kilometres into his legs and have him right on for that day in February.’’

SPECIAL DAY LOOMS FOR SIBLINGS AT WELLINGTON

Two stablemates and siblings are both ready and able to win their first race on the same day at the same venue on Monday thanks to some choice placement from Scone trainer Jeremy Gask.

Gask has found the perfect race for both of his Wellington bound duo Forever Spotted and her younger half-sister Croatian Madame who is on debut.

Both mares race in the colours made famous by Blevic mare Avoid Lightning who started out her career in Adelaide before relocating to Les Bridge’s Sir Dapper Lodge.

While there, she won the Birthday Card, the Nivison and Sapphire Stakes and was runner-up in the Group 1 Tatt’s Tiara on the Gold Coast at her final race appearance.

First out of the blocks at Wellington on Monday is Gask’s grey mare Forever Spotted who lines-up in the One Stop Automotive Class 1 & Maiden Plate over 1700 off the back of three straight thirds in this, her second campaign.

“She has been knocking on the door and things didn’t quite go to plan last time so she should run well,’’ Gask said.

“I think she is still learning how to race somewhat, so as to how she is ridden, she is fairly adaptable. She can go backwards or forwards depending on how the race is run.’’

Forever Spotted will be ridden for the first time on Monday by Chad Lever, the Port Lincoln born former Adelaide Premiership winning jockey.

“Chad rode a bit for me in Adelaide but he was aligned largely to Leon Macdonald back then. I think he may have rode one of my first winners here when I came back to New South Wales,’’ Gask said.

Scone based Reece Jones meanwhile has the coveted ride on Gask’s Denman filly Croatian Madame who looked the goods when a close runner-up on a recent trial in the nation’s thoroughbred capital.

“She has a great temperament and a good attitude,’’ Gask said.

“My horses generally take a bit of experience to learn, we don’t really get them going to too early here and we take our time but she is one who has shown good mental strength right the way through and she showed that through her trial.’’

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