Trainer wants shot at the Championships
CLASS 2 HCP: It's D-day for the Daniel Want trained Don Caballo at Grafton on Friday.
A win by the lightly raced three-year-old in the Inglis Premier Sale Sunday Class 2 Hcp (1416m) would catapult him into reckoning for the $100,000 Northern Rivers Country Championship Qualifier (1400m) at Grafton on March 6.
"If he wins he'll go into the Country Championships," Want said firmly. "That's always been the plan. The timing of both races is perfect."
If the gelding can force his way into what is certain to be a strong line up of Northern Rivers gallopers, Want is likely to have two runners in the event. Last start Coffs Harbour winner Clang's Victory is headed on the same path.
And having two horses in the Series that has captured the imagination of everyone in racing would be a tremendous achievement by the young trainer.
Championships day, that incorporates the Blues, Brews & BBQ promotion, will mark just two years since 30-year-old Want, a farrier by trade, first gained his trainers' licence. He currently has seven horses in work and the stable boasts a good strike rate.
And for owners, the Richardson family from Grafton, gaining a start in the Championship would be a fitting reward for years of breeding.
They bred Don Caballo, his dam, Bridget May and grand dam, Spanish Dancer.
Don Caballo is named after syndicate head Don Richardson. Caballo is Spanish for horse; thus Don's horse.
The gelding is coming off a last start win in a 1410m Class1 handicap at Grafton on February 9 second-up from an 86-day break.
While Don Caballo took a while to win narrowly Want was pleased with the run.
"I was a little worried about the 1400 metres second up," he admitted. "There was no speed in the race last start and it didn't suit him.
"Fitness wise he's certainly improved. He's come on since the run.
"He's drawn a bad barrier (11) on Friday but we'll still ride him the same way; let him jump out and settle where he's happy. He'll be midfield or worse but there does look to be good speed in the race and that's going to suit us."
Don Caballo has shown good ability in six starts winning two races and two third's. Want, a good horseman, has been patient with the son of Supreme Class.
"He's probably six months away from maturing," Want said. "He's still fairly green. He's off his L-plates but not by much.
"He's a fat lump of a horse, a horse that is still on the way up. He's going good at the moment. His work has been pleasing. I'm happy with him."
Want credited Coffs Harbour jockey Matthew Bennett, who partners Don Caballo on Friday, as instrumental in the gelding's education.
First and second in the Championship Qualifier book a ticket into the $400,000 Country Championship Final at Randwick on April 2.