BACK ON BERTIE: John O’Shea has the drive on Mick Watson’s Bertie Francis at Bathurst Paceway tonight. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 042413ctrots3
FRESH from an impressive last-start success, Bathurst trainer Mick Watson will send Bertie Francis around his home track looking to make it two in a row tonight.
Watson’s four-year-old Real Desire gelding notched career win number three at Cowra on Sunday and in the GC31 Yearling Payments Due June 10 Pace (1,730 metres) the trainer will hope a quick start gives him the chance to continue his winning ways.
The Cowra victory came from an inside start on the second row. Bertie Francis had to work around the outside of the field from the rear to record a win as favourite.
It marked a second win in four starts.
However, a journey back to Bathurst also comes with a jump up in grade.
This time around Bertie Francis will get the opportunity to get towards the front of the field with John O’Shea driving the gelding from gate four.
Watson said the gelding has been unfortunate not to take more wins so far in his 43-start career and he is proud of the work rate Bertie Francis continues to put in for him with every run.
“He’s been somewhat unlucky in his races because he’s been a part of a few quality races, so I don’t think his record really reflects his career,” he said.
“This one is in a higher grade so he’ll probably find it a little harder. We’ve drawn well so hopefully we can get out to a handy start for this.
“I think Native Caesar is in some very good form at the moment but a lot of horses in this race look nice. I’d say there would be about a good six horses that you’d consider a chance here.”
O’Shea is back behind Bertie Francis for the drive as he and Anthony Frisby have alternated that honour over the five starts.
Frisby will be driving his own runner, Mister Bigshot, from the outside of the front row.
“Both of them have done such a good job for me,” Watson said of the two drivers.
“Anthony has been on him for me unless he’s had a runner in one of the races. I don’t think there’s been a horse I’ve had over the years that John Thomas [O’Shea] hasn’t managed to get a win on for me.”
Watson said his gelding, whom he also bred and owns, has been a pleasure to train.
“He’s a lovely natured horse. He’s out of a mare called Ester who was a very good racing mare herself. She beat the two-minute mark back when that was a big feat at the old Bathurst Showground track. She’s now had two foals for two winners,” he said.
Watson’s love of harness racing continues even though he now has only a handful of contenders.
“I only have two in work at the moment … with the other being an unraced two-year-old,” he said.
“It’s been a hobby of mine for a long time now. It’s been a really fun thing for me to do and the harness racing community have been fantastic to be around.”
Tonight’s smaller six-race Bathurst program will get underway from the earlier time of 4.33pm.
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