Former Adelaide trainer Jeremy Gask, based these days in Scone, heads down the Hunter Expressway to Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday with a filly destined for bigger things.
Orbital Express, a three-year-old daughter of successful sire Zoustar and former crack sprinter Avoid Lightning, lines up for her second start in the 1250-metre Newcastle Skin Check Maiden Handicap.
The filly debuted in an 1100m Scone maiden on April 20 and her performance was outstanding.
Last in a field of 14 on the home turn, she sprouted wings late to finish third, one and a half lengths from the winner.
Orbital Express had trialled impressively before her debut but, as she did in her only race start, she was very slow to leave the barriers.
“This filly is richly talented but very immature,” Gask said on Friday.
“Hopefully with more racing she will get out of the habit of beginning slow.
“Orbital Express’ only run was very good as she conceded a huge start to the leaders.
“She has trained on well since but there were no suitable 1200-metre races for her on the country circuit so I decided to test her in the stronger provincial class.
“This filly needs a spacious track and long straight, and that is Newcastle.
“I am confident Orbital Express will perform well and we will know more about her on Saturday.”
Gask, who spent 11 years training in England, also has Tim’s Principal and Weather Channel engaged at Newcastle.
“Both capable and each-way chances,” he said.
The Snowden training partnership have four runners at the Newcastle meeting, with Belle O’Ballee and Vigorous Flow the best chances.
Belle O’Ballee will contest the Radford Shopfitters Benchmark 64 Handicap (900m).
The filly raced outside the leader when she won a two-year-old maiden at Newcastle on April 22.
Vigorous Flow steps out in the 1850m Hart Accountants Benchmark 64 Handicap.
He led all the way to easily win a Gosford 1600m benchmark 64 on Anzac Day. The gelding has raced twice at Newcastle.
He was beaten three lengths by The Elanora in October and he was placed in a strong benchmark 64 handicap on April 10.
Kris Lees has two good chances late in the day.
Chalmers, which doesn’t mind a soft track, will run in the 1400m Shedboss Hunter Benchmark 68 Handicap with Dylan Gibbons claiming three kilograms.
Siesta Key has drawn nicely in the John Whitmore Memorial (1200m).