Only one year into his training career David Kerr is dreaming of celebrating a fairy tale Group race victory with kennel newcomer Tin Shed Fred in Sunday afternoon’s Healesville Cup (350m).
Tin Shed Fred has been absolutely airborne since recently being purchased by Kerr’s sister Belinda Connolly and her husband Shane, winning five of his seven starts and claiming superstar Black Opium’s scalp in last weekend’s Healesville Cup heats.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get to this stage,” said Kerr.
“Especially being in a Group 3 final after just on a year as a trainer. He’s not making up the numbers either; he’s a live chance.”
Tin Shed Fred gave a sign of what was to come when winning his first two starts for Kerr at Sale in July and after a scorching 22.30s performance at Warragul last month the Warragul South mentor set his sights on the Healesville Cup.
WATCH: Tin Shed Fred defeat Black Opium in their heat from box one.
Tin Shed Fred drew one of the toughest heats, being opposed to two-time Group 1 winner Black Opium and Midnight Monarch, which was unbeaten in five appearances at Healesville, but he handled the rise in class with aplomb.
Drawn in box one, the son of Barcia Bale continued his impeccable form for Kerr, prevailing in a spirited duel with Black Opium, scoring by half a length in a fast 18.95s.
It was the second quickest heat time and just .02 outside Tiggerlong Tonk’s 18.93s, improving Tin Shed Fred’s career record to 13 from 48, five of those wins coming since July 19.
“I’ve only had him for about two and a half months,” Kerr explained.
“He’s definitely surprised me. We were told he was prone to missing the start and playing up in the boxes but we did some work on that and touchwood he’s been flying out.
“Rod Clark, one of his previous trainers, said to me that whatever I’m doing with him, don’t change anything!
“I’m not giving away any secrets! But he’s been in bigger kennels previously and I’ve only got a small kennel so he’s getting lots of love and he’s lapping it up.
“Last week was the first time in a long time that he’d been to Healesville so I was happy with box one and having him right there on the lure.
“I had a feeling that if he jumped well he’d be very hard to catch. When I saw Black Opium draw up alongside him I was worried but he saw her too and took off again.”
Tin Shed Fred will move from box one to eight for the $47,000 to-the-winner Cup Final, where he’s TAB’s $3.50 second elect behind fastest qualifier Tiggerlong Tonk (box one) at $3.10.
“He had the fastest first split in the heats and I think if he can come out fastest again he can get to the rail if he wants to,” said Kerr.
“If you watch the replay last week, he went gun-barrel straight so I don’t think box eight will worry him.
“I’m trying to keep busy this week and not think about it. But it’s going to be a slow week and I don’t think I’ll get much sleep on Saturday night.”