By Brad Kingsbury
DIANNE Clover has watched many of her fellow Pakenham trainers saddle runners in their hometown cup and admits that she always hoped to have a horse good enough to make the field one day.
After the last run of her six-year-old mare Rapid Thrill, that day could well be Sunday, 14 March 2010.
Rapid Thrill went within a head of winning the Bon Hoysted Apprentices Cup over the Cup distance at the track a fortnight ago and looked more than capable of going one better.
In fact she cost herself the race by trying to bite eventual winner Oronero in the shadows of the post and, had she won the event, would have earned an automatic start in the $100,000 Devine Pakenham Cup.
Dianne said afterwards she is still leaning towards a start for her horse.
“It would be wonderful to have a runner in the Cup,” she said.
“She’s the best chance I’ve ever had to do that and I’m thinking I will probably nominate her at this stage.”
Ms Clover and her partner Mick Gilchrist paid $3000 for Rapid Thrill as a prospective picnic race runner from Cranbourne trainer Richard Laming early last year, after she had won only one race and failed to live up to expectations.
The change of environment to Ms Clover’s Lang Lang stables, together with the attention that the experienced mentor provides her small team did the trick, and Rapid Thrill now boasts six wins and 10 placings from her 35 starts, with a tick over $65,000 in prize money.
Whether her stable star is up to Pakenham Cup class or not is Dianne’s only concern.
“She loves the track and she goes really well over the 1750-metres if she gets a look at them in the straight,” she said.
“It would have been nice to win the Apprentices Cup because we wouldn’t have any decision to make then.’
By Brad Kingsbury