Gorrel Hopes Asgarda Has The Write Stuff For Country Championships Bid

Doug Gorrel has written about plenty of horses heading into major races in his time as a journalist but he’s comfortable with being the story if promising mare Asgarda can win her way to Royal Randwick for a $1 million race.

Trainer Doug Gorrel (Pic: Bradley Photos)

The four-year-old has quietly worked her way into a position to be a major chance in Sunday’s $150,000 Newhaven Park Southern Districts Country Championships (1400m) at Albury.

Gorrel traded the pen for racehorse training a while ago now after 17 years as a scribe and after giving Asgarda as easy a path as possible to the Championships he’s excited about what lies ahead.

“This is what you train for, to go in the good races and this is one of them down here,’’ Gorrel said.

“It’d be super if she could run one-two and get a ticket into the big race.

“We’ve just gone through the grades with her and found the easiest races we could, not that there’s too many of them anymore. She deserves a crack.

“Kayla’s jumped off her a few times and said there’s a nice race for her. Hopefully we’ve found a mare that can pick off one or two down the track.”

Asgarda has been patiently handled by Gorrel, who has around 18 in work at Wagga. She was bred at Kooringal Stud and has done the bulk of her racing in the past 12 months.

But it’s been this season that she’s really blossomed and her easy win in the Country Championships Preview at Wagga on February 8 confirmed to Gorrel she was ready for something harder.

“We haven’t rushed her, she’s had a couple of early preps and a couple of race preps to learn what it’s all about and she’s taken all before her,’’ he said.

“In the early days she was difficult, now she’s a lovely mature mare who is very sensible and she seems in a happy space.

“I think she will be better still in another 12 months but we you can’t do much more than win and she’s done that four times.”

So if Gorrel could write the script for Asgarda, $6 with TAB on Saturday, how would Kayla Nisbet plot her path to victory and into the $1 million Final at Randwick on April 6?

“She’s pretty flexible, from the good gate it doesn’t matter,’’ he said.

“If she does half miss it, it won’t matter. Once she’s in the race Kayla thinks you can put her anywhere.

“I think she’ll jump fine and she should almost box seat, we don’t want to lead but she’ll be up there behind the leaders.”

There is a plan B in place for Asgarda should she fall short of qualifying at Albury with the Southern Wild Card (1400m) at Goulburn on March 24 her next stop. But Gorrel, of course, hopes he doesn’t need to enact that plan.

“You’d almost have to go there,’’ he said.

“She’d have to fail pretty badly to not, that race is our next plan but hopefully she takes that out of our hands.”

– Racing NSW

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