Chris Calthorpe hopes his wait for a star performer could be over.
Calthorpe will find out whether Media Award is the horse of a lifetime for his stable when she tackles Saturday’s Group 1 Australasian Oaks at Morphettville.
Media Award was a $5000 yearling buy before her owner Mark Arrowsmith leased the daughter of Shamus Award to Calthorpe’s clients.
She has already repaid her purchase price but will chase the big money in the $500,000 contest.
Calthorpe has always had a high opinion of Media Award, even when she missed the start by 15 lengths at her debut outing at Wangaratta last November.
The Geelong trainer said last year’s COVID outbreak contributed to Media Award’s bungled debut.
“Because of COVID, nobody could trial outside their own training centre and there’s not a lot of horses at Geelong so we couldn’t educate them properly,” Calthorpe said.
“Instead of getting fields of eight or nine in jumpouts, we were getting two or three. You could get the fitness into them but they don’t learn anything.
“She missed the start by about 15 lengths and got beaten only eight or nine (lengths) but she ran super sectionals. They were the quickest sectionals in the race.”
Media Award convinced Calthorpe to aim her at the Australasian Oaks when she finished second at Echuca last December.
Trainer Chris Calthorpe will have a crack at his first Group 1 win with Media Award in the Australasian Oaks at Morphettville. Picture: Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Calthorpe said Media Award has exceed expectations when he has challenged the filly.
Media Award easily broke her maiden when resuming at Kyneton on March 29 before another soft win at Geelong on April 20.
“Everything we’ve asked of her, from the day we took her to the Colac jumpouts, she’s just stepped up that bit every time,” Calthorpe said.
“Not only has she stepped up, but she’s improved not just a step, she’s taken two big steps.
“She’s very clean-winded. She never comes back blowing.
“Maybe she’s the horse we’ve been waiting for.”
Media Award drew barrier 13 for the Oaks but Calthorpe won’t be put off by the potentially tricky draw.
Calthorpe said tactics would be the domain of jockey Luke Nolen.
“We would have like to be one or two (barriers) closer but we’re not going to stay home because of barriers,” Calthorpe said.
“As long as she gets cover, she’ll be fine. Somewhere midfield will be nice.
“She has got a good turn of foot and it’s going to be nice weather so the track is going to be perfect.
“If she can follow the right horse into the straight and see a bit of daylight, like she has at her last two starts, hopefully she’ll put herself right in it.”
TAB posted Media Award as a $21 chance in its early final field market on the Australasian Oaks.
Originally published asCalthorpe aims to scoop Oaks with Media Award
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