Clinton McDonald was happy to be dictated to by the COVID-19 crisis when he decided on running his in-form mare Diamond Effort at Caulfield in the Lamaro’s Hotel Handicap (1000m).
“It wasn’t in my plan. We were going to wait until the Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield in a fortnight but this is in my backyard and with the situation it might be best to get the runs in while you can,” McDonald said.
McDonald is still aiming Diamond Effort at next month’s Wangoom Handicap at Warrnambool but he thinks it’s best to get the runs into her while he can.
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Diamond Effort after winning the Hareeba Stakes at Mornington.Source:AAP
“It would be great to get to Warrnambool but a month is a lifetime away in this scenario.”
Diamond Effort has won her three starts this time in kicking off at Caulfield, then Flemington and then the Hareeba Stakes at Mornington at her last start.
Diamond Effort is dropping back from 1200m to 1000m, a distance she has never started over in her career.
McDonald explained why Diamond Effort hadn’t started over 1000m and that was to do with the punt.
“I like a bet. Over 1000m it doesn’t leave you much chance to get over making a mistake and early in her career she could do plenty wrong,” he said.
Trainer Clinton McDonald says Benitoite (rails) is his best for the Caulfield card.Source:Getty Images
“At her last start in the Hareeba she raced a bit fresh in the early stages. I’m hoping that over 1000m she can settle into the race and then be able to sprint over the top of them.”
Also McDonald said Diamond Effort would relish the soft conditions and he thought drawing out in barrier 11 could be advantageous with the rail out nine metres as he predicted they would race away from the rail.
Diamond Effort is a $3.20 favourite with TAB fixed odds.
McDonald is also confident about the prospects of his other runner Benitiote who is also a $3.20 favourite in the Benchmark 90 over 1600m.
“That was a great run last start in Sydney when she finished fourth in a Group 1 and she came through it really well. She’s flying,” he said.
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Sky Racing news update 01-04-2020
Sky Racing news update 01-04-2020.
STOCKDALE FINDS STRIDE TO FOLLOW FAMILY
WHILE boom apprentice Thomas Stockdale’s wider family is well established in Victorian racing, he hails from the non-racing side of the family and a career as a jockey wasn’t on his radar.
Stockdale, who has ridden two city trebles in the past fortnight, said his cousins Shane, Billy, Frankie and Brandon were trainers and jockeys, but up until four years ago he hadn’t even met them.
It was the success of his cousin Brandon as an apprentice four years ago that piqued his interest in horse racing.
“I had started to follow Brandon and he was doing well. Although he’s my cousin I hadn’t met him, but I got in touch with him and he said to give it a go,” he said.
Stockdale arranged to do work experience at the stables of his cousin Shane for year 10 work experience. He is now indentured to him.
“My family had nothing to do with racing. I didn’t even know how to put a head collar on. I’ve had to do everything from scratch,” he said.
Thomas Stockdale sets alight Street Icon at Sandown to continue his winning form.Source:AAP
The 20-year-old is making a great impact on the track.
He rode a treble on Mornington Cup Day two weeks ago, scoring on Sizzlefly, Salsamor and Nudge Bar.
He did the same at Sandown Lakeside on Wednesday, winning on Astraeus, Jack Regan and Street Icon, taking his city winners’ tally to 14.
Stockdale said his book of six rides at Caulfield on Saturday was the best of his career — Inverloch (race 2), Buffalo River (race 3), Leale (race 4), Knowles (race 5), Malibu Style (race 6) and Salsamor (race 9).
“I’m excited about them all. I’m also excited about having such a great lot of rides at a Saturday meeting,” he said.
Stockdale has had eight rides at Caulfield, but is yet to land a place there. He loves riding against stars such as Damien Oliver, Craig Williams, Mark Zahra and Dwayne Dunn, and tries to soak up information from them.
“Riding against them, competitiveness goes to another level,” he said.
“I’m looking at improving my riding, and hopefully the winners will come.”
Originally published asTrainer banking on big double in his own backyard
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