Trainer Matthew Dale has a stellar line up of runners competing throughout New South Wales this week, including his talented Not A Single Doubt-sired duo Unanimously and Jackpot Queen.
Unanimously will attempt to continue his perfect first-up performances that have seen him win four of his ten career starts.
The three-year-old gelding will tempt fate by beginning his preparation in a difficult Sydney metropolitan Saturday meet this weekend.
“Both other times he has started first up, one was in a Canberra two-year-old and the next preparation was in an Albury race,” Dale said.
“Obviously being first up in Sydney is quite harder than his last two first up races but he is a horse with good form last preparation and you would like to see him kick off where he left off.”
Unanimously won his first barrier trial last month after coming back from a three month spell.
“He seems to have spelled ok,” Dale said.
“He won a trial Canberra the other day. He only beat maiden and unraced horses by a length or so but he’s been chipping along ok and we are looking forward to Saturday.”
Perhaps the trainer’s best winning hope; Jackpot Queen will take to the track in the Wagga Inglis 2YO Bonus Handicap on Thursday.
While Dale is confident of her abilities, he is concerned about the high weight she has been allocated by the handicapper.
“She has a lot of weight,” Dale said.
“She is a little filly and has been allocated 60kg.”
Dale will attempt to offset the large weight by using apprentice jockey Billy Owen, who will be eligible to claim two kilograms.
“We’ll take a claim with apprentice Billy Owen and bring her down to 58kg,” Dale said.
“It is still quite a bit of weight to be carrying taking on the boys.
“The 1200m for the first time is also a question mark but she couldn’t be going any better.”
Jackpot Queen is in the middle of a fruitful preparation that has seen her win two of her three race starts.
“She won the Wellington Boot and then ran fifth in the Kindergarten Stakes before winning at Randwick last Monday,” Dale said.
“She is going really well and will be in it up to her ears.”
Dale realised what a talented filly he had in his stable after Jackpot Queen finished a gallant second to Pane in the Glass in the $250,000 Inglis Nursery.
“When we first had her in the yard our main aim was the Inglis Nursery and the Inglis Classic,” Dale said.
“We ended up missing the Inglis Classic but she ran second in the Inglis Nursery to Pane In the Glass who has gone on to become a Group 1 performed filly.
“That was a great effort and that was a quarter of a million dollar race.
“That was always our aim and we thought she would be competitive.
“She has although definitely proved to be a surprise packet as she is only a very small filly and she is extremely gutsy and loves to race.”
Dale currently has no plans for where to next send Jackpot Queen, opting to first see how she fares in tomorrow’s race.
“We always take things one step at a time and let the horses tell you,” Dale said.
“We’ll reassess after tomorrow and there is another race or two on the agenda later in May.
“A lot depends on how she goes tomorrow because it is her first time out to the 1200m and she is a speedy, little filly.
“Quite often these fillies won’t run a 1200m right out so until you test them over a solid 1200m you don’t really know what your options are.”
It is horses like Unanimously and Jackpot Queen that have caused Dale to continue to purchase Not A Single Doubt yearlings year after year.
“I’ve had three Not A Single Doubt horses go to the races and all three have won in Sydney,” Dale said.
“We’ve had a very good run with them. They are a good breed, good to train and they are natural running horses.
“We bought another one this year from the Inglis Classic Sale and I never knock back a Not A Single Doubt horse.
“We love them in our stable because we’ve had good success with them.”