Preparation and timing along with judgement, knowledge, persistence and ounce of luck are key commodities that horse trainers trade on.
Karnup-based Darryn Pateman can safely vouch for most of the above but he wouldn’t mind a dose of good fortune with a recent acquisition.
Pateman picked up Starry Dane from leading trainers Jason Miller and Geoff Durrant with the aim of setting him for the Broome Cup later in the year.
After posting a comfortable victory at Narrogin in February, the five-year-old departed Miller and Durrant’s camp with four wins from 19 attempts.
But plans to launch Starry Dane’s new tenure under Pateman’s guidance and direction in the Mount Barker Cup on March 26 came unstuck.
The popular country meeting survived just two races before being abandoned when a section of the track was deemed unsafe for racing.
Another attempt to get his preparation up and running at Pinjarra hit another hurdle when a delay in ownership paperwork prevented a start.
Starry Dane finally got underway for his new connections in the Geraldton Cup (2100m) and his performance had an impact on Pateman.
Following a 44-day break between runs, the son of Danehill Express showed positive signs to finish fourth to Wayside, beaten 5 ½ lengths.
“I thought the run in Geraldton was real good,” Pateman said.
“He got held up a little, but that was probably my fault.
“Because he hadn’t had a run in 44 days I was mindful of his fitness.
“I instructed Alan (Kennedy) not to get rolling until late.
“Once he got out he got going and finished strongly.”
Encouraged by Starry Dane’s first-up run and with further improvement expected, Pateman has opted to have a crack at Sunday’s XXXX Gold-Narrogin Cup (1900m).
It’s a race that has been kind to him previously after he prepared Lords Luck to win in 1987 and Mokine two years later.
“He’s had one start at Narrogin for one win and that instils me with confidence because it can be a tight and tricky track,” Pateman said.
“I would be really be surprised if he wasn’t in the mix.”
Starry Dane, drawn in barrier ten for Alan Kennedy, is $8.50 in an open betting race.
Wayside and Pushin’ Shapes share TAB favouritism at $4.40.
Present Arms ($5.50), Barry’s Rabbit ($8.50) and Galinba Blast ($8.50) are the remaining runners under double figures.
Ben Pearce said Pushin’ Shapes, a winner in two of three races this campaign, is back on track after being scratched from Ascot last week.
“He had a foot abscess and that’s the reason he didn’t race,” Pearce said.
“But by Sunday he was fine and he has looked well during the week.
“I expect him to go well.”