Duggan Banks On Proven Performers In Home Track Championships Bid

Trainer Adam Duggan is banking on the proven liking Diamond Diesel and Border Control have for their home track kicking in to make a difference in the Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championship Qualifier over 1200 metres there on Saturday.

Gosford is a tight and tricky circuit with a short straight that can easily bring horses undone if they’re not used to racing on it or simply don’t like it.

But that’s not the case with Diamond Diesel, which has had four starts there for two wins, a second and a third, including one win over the distance of Saturday’s qualifier and another over 1100 metres. He is an $11 chance with TAB Fixed Odds.

And it’s the same for Border Control, which has had three starts at Gosford for two wins and a second. Border Control’s Gosford wins have been over 1000 metres and 1100. He’s at the big odds of $34.

“That’s certainly a big reason I chose this qualifier as opposed to going to one of the other tracks,” Duggan said.

Trainer Adam Duggan (Pic: Steve Hart)

“Diamond Diesel is probably the most versatile horse I’ve had. He’s led all the way to win at Randwick and come from last to win at Canterbury, so he can handle different situations that come up in races. He’s been set for this race all along.

“Border Control was more of an after-thought for it and I’ve got him in a race at Rosehill on Saturday as well, but I’m now leaning towards the Gosford race with him.

“He’s drawn wide in Sydney, but he’s got a lovely draw at Gosford and so has Diamond Diesel.”

There are a lot of similarities between Duggan’s two horses apart from their liking for Gosford.

They are both older geldings – Diamond Diesel is seven and Border Control six – but neither has been over-taxed in his racing career.

Diamond Diesel has had 15 starts for five wins and six placings and his wins have been spread between provincial (three times) and city (twice) tracks.

Border Control has had 16 starts for four wins and three placings and his wins have also all come at provincial (three times) and city (once) tracks.

And they have each won on firm and wet tracks – Diamond Diesel on a Good 4 through to a Heavy 10 and Border Control on a Good 4 to a Soft 6.

Sunny weather this week has the Gosford track currently rated a Good 4.

The question is whether Border Control will handle the 1200 metres as well as Diamond Diesel is likely to.

Four of Diamond Diesel’s wins have been over 1200m, while Border Control has only won up to 1100 metres.

But Border Control did finish off well from 11th on the home turn for 3rd in a Midway race over 1200m at Rosehill 12 months ago.

The Gosford race is the only one among the six championship qualifiers and the wild card that is over less than 1350 metres. Four of the qualifiers, plus the wild card and the $1 million final at Randwick on April 13, are over 1400.

There would obviously be a further question mark over Border Control’s ability to run out the 1400 should it finish in the first two at Gosford and qualify for the final, but there are good signs in that department for the stablemate.

Diamond Diesel hasn’t won beyond 1200 metres, but has finished second over 1400 at Rosehill and third over 1600 at Randwick, he has an excellent first-up record and is going into the qualifier off the back of one barrier trial following a short spell.

“He won first-up at Canterbury last prep and then backed it up with a win at Gosford between Christmas and New Year,” Duggan said. “He only had 18 days off before coming back into the stable this time, so I felt the one trial was enough.

“He’s pretty close to the mark for this race. Last campaign he took another step forward and I think he can do the same again this time. His trial was good and he seems to be getting better as he gets older.”

– Racing NSW

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