Stepping out at Dubbo Turf Club isn’t the debut Stephen Jones had envisioned for Gaffa but the Scone trainer is confident it will be the first step in a successful racing career.
Gaffa was originally set to make his first start in the $250,000 Inglis Classic for two-year-olds at Warwick Farm in February but after knocking his leg in the stables prior to the race Jones was forced to scratch and then spell the gelding.
That was a bitter blow for the trainer and connections but Jones is positive the future is bright.
“He came back at Muswellbrook and trialled really well,” Jones said, Gaffa finishing first there on May 30.
“We’re very pleased with him. After this first start we’ll look towards Sydney and I think he’s got the makings of a nice horse.
“After this preparation he’ll improve more.”
While one eye might be on the future, Jones is feeling confident about Friday’s $30,000 Silver Goblet feature for juveniles at Dubbo.
Gaffa will go from barrier three with the accomplished Aaron Bullock in the saddle.
Nuke, trained by Group 1 winner Gerald Ryan, was a hot $2 favourite on Thursday having run second in a trial at the trainer’s hometown track of Warwick Farm earlier this month.
There is also plenty of interest around Bedtime Stories, the leading local contender from the stables of Darren Hyde, and the Cessnock-trained King Percy.
“Gerald is always hard to beat and the Dubbo horse has had one win for one start but he’s right up to them,” Jones said of his hope.
“He’s a nice horse and he’s on the way.”
While Hyde’s Bedtime Stories has been all the rage among locals, fellow Dubbo trainers Garry and Dar Lunn will also have hopes in the two-year-old feature.
Garry’s Artful Wordsmith drew gate 12, the widest in the race, and heads in having run fourth on debut at Coonamble while the Dar-trained Isaac’s Kolt will be making his first start after running fourth in a trial at Wellington earlier this month.
Nyngan trainer Rodney Robb is another with a hope in the Silver Goblet, first starter Miss Lon to go from gate 10.
The Silver Goblet jumps at 1.35pm, the third race in the showcase meeting.