Dale looks to build on new benchmark
By JUSTIN JENVEY
LOCAL horse trainer Andrew Dale has picked up where he left off, making a strong start to the new racing season.
Dale is coming off a career year in which he trained 14 winners, a mark he’s looking to surpass over the next 12 months.
Spring has started well with one of Dale’s geldings, Arthur Poritt, claiming back to back victory’s in recent weeks.
The five year-old won at Griffith on September 8 and followed up with victory in the Benchmark 66 over 1600m at Corowa last Monday.
Dale said smarter strategy and a strong backing from owners have been the keys behind the stable’s most fruitful year and more encouraging results.
“It’s been a pleasing start following on from last season’s success,” Dale said.
“I’m still fairly new to training but I’ think what I’ve learnt in the last little while is a lot more about placing horses and taking them to venues where they can win.
“You’re also only as good as the people around you and I’ve been pretty lucky to have some good support.”
Among Dale’s achievements last season was having one of his newest horses, It’s A Fireball, break the track record at Narrandera over 1200m, in July.
The former Myrtleford football coach has now trained 39 winners in a little over four years after gaining his licence ahead of the 2014/15 season.
Since starting out he’s been based in Albury and has grown his stable to presently have 15 horses while involving more people through shared ownership.
“The most important part about what we achieved this year was introducing a whole lot of new clients, well over 100 in the last 12 months,” he said.
“We’re introducing people at the lower end of the experience.
“I can’t afford to purchase horses that are too expensive so you buy tried horses and try and improve them.
“As an owner if it doesn’t work out you’re not getting fingers burnt and you’ll hopefully have an opportunity to move into another horse.
“All of our owners at some stage during the season were involved in horses that were successful.”
This campaign will be Dale’s last registered in NSW – pending Racing Victoria grants him a licence – with a move to the multimillion dollar renovated Wangaratta Racecourse on the cards.
Dale will move into one of two new 18-box stable blocks and will have access to state of the art facilities for riding and horse recovery as well as a $1.3 million sand fibre track.
Dale’s wife Heather has been managing the project, working closely with Wangaratta Turf Club chief executive officer Paul Hoysted in preparation for a move in the first half of next year.
“It’s really exciting, it’s a big move but I feel the time is right after training for four years at Albury,” Dale said.
“It just makes sense and the horses will be provided with the best opportunity with better facilities to develop them and train them.
“The sand fibre track will be fantastic and maybe just that little bit more in the training facilities allows us to extract a few per cent more out of each horse.”
BRIGHT’S Ben Reid will be harbouring hopes of a shock return to Collingwood’s side for Saturday’s AFL Grand Final against West Coast.
The Pies are believed to be putting some thought into making a change to the side that downed reigning premiers Richmond to qualify for their first grand final since 2011.
Reid was a member of Collingwood’s premiership side in 2010 but has appeared in just six games this season.
The 29 year-old hasn’t played since round 10 after going down with a calf injury and then having two knee arthroscopes late in the home and away season.
but fit again, he has been an emergency for Collingwood’s past two finals.
Reid and Darcy Moore are the candidates to come in to the side if the Pies opt to add more height to their defence to counter Eagles forwards Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling.
If one of the two does come in, it will likely be at the expense of Tyson Goldsack who only returned to the side for Collingwood’s qualifying final against West Coast three weeks ago, after recovering from a new reconstruction.
However, the Pies would be changing the structure of a side that has given the club five wins in the past six matches.
Following last Friday night’s win, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley said every player on the club’s list still had a role to play whether or not they are named in the final 22 for Saturday.
“I spoke to every one of the other players who didn’t play tonight and said we’ve got another week of training to do, we’ve got some preparation that needs to take place,” he said.
“When we get to the other side of this, we’ll have a couple of really important training sessions to prepare the 22 that play.’’
If Reid was to play he would do so alongside another local product in Myrtleford’s Jack Crisp who has lined up in every game this season.
The rebounding defender was one of Collingwood’s best in the preliminary final triumph with 30 disposals and two goals.
It was one of, if not his best display this year in what is arguably Crisp’s best season at the top level.
After ending Richmond’s hopes of back-to back premierships, Buckley said his team deserved their place in the last game of the season.
“We’ve earned that opportunity and we’ve taken advantage of that opportunity by playing some good footy, and we’re not done yet,” he said.
“We’ve got another game to win, and we’ve been strong on exploring ourselves, finding out what we’re capable of and we still don’t know, so we want to go and do that.’’
RISING: Andrew Dale is enjoying consistent success with his work as a trainer.