Peace for our time: Dale eyeing Kosciuszko after eight-year-old's win
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Peace for our time: Dale eyeing Kosciuszko after eight-year-old's win

Canberra trainer Matthew Dale declared war on the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko with Man Of Peace after the eight-year-old gelding bolted in at Randwick on Saturday - and he will like the horse’s chances even more if he can get another wet track.

First he has to get a run in the 1200m race for country-trained horses at Randwick on October 17 via one of the winning slot-holders in the $5-a-ticket TAB draw, but auditions are well under way and Man Of Peace got rave reviews for this performance.

Man of Peace and trainer Matthew Dale would love another wet track for October's country showpiece at Randwick.

Man of Peace and trainer Matthew Dale would love another wet track for October's country showpiece at Randwick.Credit:Getty

The key as far as hopes for The Kosciuszko are concerned is the fact Man Of Peace has been coming back in distance with each run recently and handling the challenge superbly. This time he led for most of the 1300m of the benchmark 94 test and won by 2.3 lengths.

Asked whether he was targeting The Kosciuszko, Dale replied: ‘‘That’s what today was about. It might’ve looked like funny placement, being a mile back to 1400 back to 1300 deep into his prep, but I said to the owners ‘let’s have a look at 1300. I’ll keep him fresh and see what he does, so we can see if we can put our hand up for the Kosciuszko. And I think that answered the question.

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‘‘I think the best advertising (for a run in The Kosciuszko) is exactly what I just said, after a win like that, and it sorts itself out.

‘‘He didn’t get a soft run. It was a race for the lead early, but he’s a unique old, tough customer that did all of his racing butting heads around the country for so many years and now since we’ve had him he’s found a real good groove and it’s obviously aided by wet tracks.’’

Matthew Dale at headquarters on Sunday.

Matthew Dale at headquarters on Sunday.Credit:Getty

Man Of Peace ate up the heavy 9 conditions to win. At his previous start, on July 18, he won a BM88 over 1400m on a heavy 8 at Randwick. He won another 1400m race on a heavy 9 at Randwick in May and with three wins from his last five runs is in the best form of his career.

He has a successful association with female jockeys as well and Dale said Louise Day, who has now ridden him in his last two wins, could expect to ride him in The Kosciuszko presuming a slot-holder picks him up. Man Of Peace is quoted at $15, with only five horses ahead of him in the betting.

Man Of Peace provided the first leg of a running double for Day, who also won on De Grawin for trainer Joe Pride in the Four Time Champion Sire Snitzel Sprint over 1000m.

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One of the best-performed female jockeys of recent times, Kathy O’Hara, opened the day with a winning ride on Not Feint Hearted for Gary Portelli over 1300m that the trainer said was proof the rider had gone to another level.

‘‘We've had a great season together,’’ Portelli said. ‘‘She’s got so much maturity. Since she left the city when she was struggling, to go back to the southern area, she started riding winners again and she’s just so confident.

‘‘I don’t tell her how to ride any more. I say I expect you to be here, but you’ve got the horse under you and she just does what she feels and that’s something that, when people are in form – footballers, cricketers, whatever – for some reason it just happens.

‘‘The same with stables that are winning, like we are at the moment.’’

Sydney’s premiership-winning jockey James McDonald opened the new season with a win on the Bjorn Baker-trained Kiss The Bride and gun apprentice Tom Sherry, who slayed them at the provincials last season, broke through for his first city win on the Mark Newnham-trained Fulmina.

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