Rod Clark is confident Oriental Amber can take a huge step towards next month’s Group 2 Healesville Cup when she starts favourite in Sunday afternoon’s Straight Racing …Great Racing Grade 5 final (350m).
Boasting an imposing 23 from 47 career strike rate, Oriental Amber, a G2 Ballarat Cup finalist and the Horsham 410m record holder, is undoubtedly the class runner in the final, which is Race 6 at 12.49pm.
With Clark’s sights on the Healesville Cup heats, to be held on Sunday, September 5, Oriental Amber made her Healesville debut last weekend, without the benefit of a trial, and while she was new to the straight the $1.80 favourite proved too good, clocking 19.24sec.
“That’s the plan,” said Clark, who recently relocated from Toolleen to Echuca.
“We’ll see how the weekend goes and work out whether to bring her back again before the Cup heats, but we’ll definitely be back for the Cup.
“I didn’t trial her at Healesville, which I normally wouldn’t do, but she did a great job and 19.24sec is pretty slick for her first look there.
“She wasn’t quite sure where she was and I’m sure she was looking for a corner somewhere, so if she gets a clear run, I’d expect her to go better this week.
“She can definitely get into the low 19s or break 19sec.
WATCH: G2 finalist and track record holder Oriental Amber (3) outclasses her rivals with a smart 19.24sec debut victory at Healesville last Sunday.
“Ferdinand Boy got down to 19.00sec at Healesville and Oriental Amber is as quick as him. I just wish she had his early speed! Her box manners are the only thing that lets her down.
“She had a bit of a break after the Pink Diamond final (Champion Short Course) and she’s going super.
“Her win at Horsham before she went to Healesville was enormous. She ran 23.23sec but won by eight lengths; it was a very slow track.”
Clark has two runners in the Healesville final, with Oriental Amber drawn perfectly in box two, having won five from eight in the ‘check’, and Sonny Daze, which ran third in his heat, boxed alongside his more high-profile kennelmate in three.
“Oriental Amber is boxed beautifully down there,” Clark said.
“She should get a bit of cover from Sonny Daze and if she can navigate her way through early, I think she’ll be hard to catch.
“Sonny Daze could only run around 19.40sec at best so Oriental Amber is definitely my best chance.”
Clark also gave a nice ‘push’ for his other runner at Healesville, the lightly raced My Name’s Phil, which was a 19.48sec Maiden winner last Sunday at his fifth start and has also drawn box two in Race 5 at 12.29pm.
“He’s a fast little dog and also went there sight unseen so I’d expect him to go better this week too,” Clark said.
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