Barrier draw to make difference

Brooke Sweeney returns to scale after a winner at Wodonga on Boxing Day.

Brooke Sweeney returns to scale after a winner at Wodonga on Boxing Day.

WANGARATTA trainer John Ledger hopes lightly raced mare Golden Olive is on her best behaviour when she lines up in the Albury Demolitions Class 2 Hcp (1000m) at Albury today.

Golden Olive, who will be ridden by two-kilogram claiming apprentice Brooke Sweeney, was a late scratching at the barrier at the last Albury meeting on January 18.

“She played up in the barriers and bashed her head,” Ledger said.

“She drew barrier one that day and was in the stalls for a fair while but tomorrow she is in barrier 10 and will go in late.

“Hopefully she’s on her best behaviour.”

By Danerich out of Miss Ali Royal, Golden Olive is raced and bred by long-time client Frank Vodusek and is the pre-post $4 favourite for the third event on an eight-race card.

“I trained the dam,” Ledger recalled.

“She won a race at Sandown for us but it was on a very hot day and while she raced on, she was never the same and didn’t win another race.”

Golden Olive has a record of two wins and three placings from 10 starts, but Ledger said the quirky mare should have a much better record.

“She’s got plenty of ability but won’t go a yard on shifty tracks,” he said.

“She needs a good track with firm footing to produce her best,” Ledger added.

Golden Olive’s dislike of “shifty tracks” was evident in her last start failure when 14.7 lengths 12th to Adio in a F & M’s Benchmark 64 handicap (1212m) at Kyneton on December 23.

The mare previously won over 1000 metres at Wangaratta on December 3 (Benchmark 58) and finished second at her first two runs at Wangaratta and Echuca following a 207-day spell.

“She just didn’t handle the track at Kyneton,” Ledger said.

“Dale Smith said she was never comfortable in the ground, never picked up the bridle and never went a metre in it.

“My son Chris, who I train with, told me the track would be shifty but me being an old head didn’t listen.

“With cut in the ground she won’t work in it and won’t race on it.”

Ledger has been pleased with Golden Olive’s progress since the Albury disaster.

“I can’t fault her,” Ledger said.

“Her trackwork has been good, her well-being and her blood is good.”