Port Macquarie trainer Paul Shailer says former expensive yearling Narnia, about to begin his second campaign for the stable at Taree on Monday, has matured during a break and is looking much more like the horse they believe he can be.
Shailer has prepared the three-year-old gelding to be very competitive first-up in the Chill Out Mobile Cool Rooms Country Boosted Class 1 Handicap over 1250 metres.
All the trainer wants now is a drying track because indications so far in Narnia’s seven-race career is that he doesn’t have a liking for genuinely wet conditions.
Taree was rated a Soft 7 for last Monday’s meeting and was still rated the same on Thursday, but with fine and sunny days forecast right through until Monday there is the potential for significant improvement.
“I’m thinking it has to improve with this drying weather,” Shailer said. “I probably wouldn’t want it to be anything worse than a Soft 5.
“If he gets improved conditions he’ll be fit enough for a pretty forward showing. I don’t want him going around with the aim of improving off this run when he’s capable of winning first-up.
“Aaron Bullock rode him in both of his trials and the feedback from him is that the horse is a genuine winning chance. Aaron will ride him on Monday.
“The trials were both over 1000 metres and the 1250 looks like a really suitable first-up distance for him coming off the back of that.”
Narnia was originally trained by Annabel Neasham in Sydney, but was put on sale again after his first five runs which included one win in a 3YO Handicap over 1350 metres on a Good 4 at Doomben.
“We bought him online,” Shailer said. “They paid $600,000 for him as a yearling and we bought him for $45,000 not long after he’d been gelded. We found clients to take shares in him.
“We thought he could be a horse that could win a couple of races quickly and be competitive in a TAB Highway in town.
“He ran well first-up for us early in January, but then second-up he was disappointing for no obvious reason so we put him away and he’s come back looking really good.
“He hadn’t long been gelded when we first got him and was a real thick-set horse. He still looked like a colt. He’s really refined now and a lot more athletic than he was last preparation, so hopefully that stands him in good stead and he can start winning soon.
“I think he just needed a good break. He’s come back a different horse, so we’re looking forward to seeing how he goes now.”
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– Racing NSW