A win at Flemington with Chief Altony will be the ideal birthday present for trainer Alexander Rae
Nobody wants a birthday in lockdown unless it was to coincide with a second Flemington winner.
It is a scenario Cranbourne trainer Alexander Rae hopes to realise on Saturday with Chief Altony.
After bursting on to the scene with a Flemington triumph on Cochada on Oaks Day in 2018, the rising 26-year-old has mainly made ends meet picking off wins on the provincial circuit.
Chief Altony presented Rae his second metropolitan success last year on a Wednesday at Sandown Hillside, while smart filly Electric Belle got on the board recently at the same venue.
A breakthrough Saturday winner – if Chief Altony, a popular $2.25 favourite with TAB salutes in the 1400m Benchmark 78 – in town would be another career highlight for the boutique operator.
“We’re still trying to get the monkey off the back,” Rae said of his three-year Flemington drought.
“I won a good race over the carnival, I’ll be back, I’m not worried about that, just got to find the right horse and the right set of circumstances but everything is going all right at the moment.”
Rae has been striking consistently of late.
Six of his eight winners this season have come from his past 25 starters.
Another six starters in the same stretch dating back to late December recorded minor placings.
With limited numbers, 18 horses in work currently, Rae cannot afford a scattergun approach.
“You have to pick your targets,” Rae said.
“Placing your horses where they can compete so you‘re not going there having bad runs.
“I think it‘s important, when we pull the trigger, it’s in the right race for the right horse.”
Alexander Rae hopes Chief Altony can become his second Flemington winner. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Rae is confident Chief Altony is the “right horse” on Saturday, so much so the Cranbourne trainer bypassed an easier option last Wednesday for the VRC Member Lesley Millson Trophy.
“We can spend the next two months and pick the brains out of the calendar and he probably picks up a cheque every time around,” Rae said.
“But if he’s going to ever get to a good standard of racing like the Winter Championship, it’s probably a good opportunity (bring him back to Flemington).
“If he can measure up on Saturday I’d imagine we’ll go down that Winter Championship path.”
By his own admission, Rae pulled the wrong rein taking Chief Altony to Flemington last December at the end of a long campaign.
He went around a short-priced favourite but faded to finish fourth – the bombproof gelding’s worst result in 11 career starts.
Chief Altony resumed in April with a strong second at Ballarat behind Corner Pocket, has won twice since, before returning to the same circuit for a barnstorming four-length demolition.
“He just had enough by the time we got to Flemington last time, in hindsight,” Rae said.
“Whereas this time around, third-up and ready to peak early in his preparation, he shouldn't have any excuses on Saturday.”
With Jye McNeil — who partnered Chief Altony last start — riding in Brisbane, top jockey Mark Zahra was booked for the mount.
Originally published asHail the Chief: Rae’s bid to end Flemington drought
Source: Read Full Article