CKH Painting Shepparton Gold Cup finalist Gotta Get Back might be trained at Jindera, located just north of Albury in NSW, however trainer John McClelland says he’ll enjoy a home track advantage in Friday night’s Group 2 feature.
Shepparton has become a home away from home for Gotta Get Back, which has won seven of his ten starts over 450m and 390m at the track and will make his first appearance on the Group stage in Friday’s $47,000 to-the-winner Cup Final.
“Shepparton is pretty much my home track,” said John McClelland, who knows what it takes to win a country cup, having claimed the Wangaratta Cup in 2007 with Proven Wiz.
“Wagga is probably a little bit closer to Jindera but I don’t go that way too often. I’d say that 90 per cent of the time I race in Victoria. I take them wherever I can find a race for them and the travelling doesn’t really worry me now I’m retired.
“Gotta Get Back’s owner Peter Dooner is from Wagga and he usually races them through their grades and then anything that’s above average comes down to me. This bloke was a readymade dog when I got him and he was always going to be up to Victorian standard.
“I’ve been everywhere with Gotta Get Back trying to beat the grader but the time comes when you’ve got to take on the good ones and when I put him around Shepparton a couple of weeks ago and he ran 25.07 I thought he deserved a chance in the Cup.”
“I’ve been everywhere with GOTTA GET BACK trying to beat the grader but the time comes when you’ve got to take on the good ones and when I put him around Shepparton a couple of weeks ago and he ran 25.07 I thought he deserved a chance in the Cup” – JOHN McCLELLAND
A son of Vee Man Vane, which was placed in two Shepparton Cups, running second in 2007 and third in 2008, Gotta Get Back qualified for Friday’s final when running a close second in his heat to multiple Group finalist Big Ticket.
But while Gotta Get Back has an obvious affinity with Shepparton, McClelland is guarded about his prospects of eclipsing his sire after drawing box four, rating Jason Thompson’s perfectly drawn Geelong Cup winner Dalgetty (box 8) as the one to beat.
“Gotta Get Back was a bit stiff in his heat because him and Big Ticket had a fair bumping duel up the straight, which didn’t do either of them much good time-wise and I think they’ll both improve in the final,” McClelland said.
“There’s not much you can say about box four and there’s three or four dogs in the race that can run low 11s to the second split, which makes it pretty hard.
“He’s not a brilliant box dog but he goes when he hits the ground. If he gets a clear run and lobs in front anything can happen but he’s up against a pretty classy lot and I think the pink (Dalgetty) will be hard to beat because it’s going to get clear air out there. If I had a choice I’d take the pink every time at Shepp.
“It’s the old story. You need a bit of ability and a lot of luck!”
WATCH: Big Ticket (1) and Gotta Get Back (2) endured a bumping duel in their heat and are set to renew acquaintances on Friday night.
WATCH: Catch the Shepparton Cup heat replays, tips and suggested bets from GRVextra’s Simone Fisher and James Van de Maat.