RACE five of today’s Echuca meet is shaping up to be a local battle.
Three locally trained horses will take part, all of whom are entering with recent victories to their name.
The best hope is perhaps South Arbor, who has been white hot in recent weeks.
Trained by Gunbower’s Jim Lake, the four-year-old has been in the thick of it in his last four races, with three second placings and a win.
And it was on his most recent visit to Echuca that he saluted the judge.
As Lake will tell you, his form speaks for itself.
‘‘He’s been running incredibly well of late,’’ Lake said.
‘‘He’s been producing really well in training, his jockey is really happy with the way he has been running, so I’m pretty happy with what he has been producing.’’
So happy is Lake, he’s ready to step South Arbor up to a new challenge.
‘‘We’re running him over a mile,’’ Lake said.
‘‘We’ve been slowly increasing his distance across his first few starts, and he’s now settled in to the 1400m distances and is running them really well.
‘‘I’ve long thought he could step up to the mile (1600m), and his jockey agrees with me.
‘‘He’s been getting through those distances and still seems to be able to go and run a bit more distance, so we will be using this event to see if he is able to get across that distance.’’
And Lake has full faith that he can.
‘‘As we’ve said you only need to look at his form the past few races to see he is running incredibly well, and we think he can match that form on his move to 1600m.
‘‘There is only one way to find out, and if he isn’t able to maintain it across 1600m, that’s fine, we take him back down to 1400m where he’s proved that he is able to run and we keep him there a bit longer.’’
South Arbor’s race will see him up against the Rhys Archard-trained Regal Reece, which will be coming off his first win from his eight starts, at Tatura 15 days ago.
He will also have to compete against the Cornish-Gaskin trained and Mikaela Claridge ridden Mywordsaidthebird, which won at Echuca on November 6.
The three will be joined by 12 other local hopefuls across the day of racing at the penultimate Echuca meet of 2018.