Group 1-winning trainer Graeme Jose is hoping a change of scenery will pay dividends when he heads to Healesville on Sunday with five runners; rating runaway last start Sandown Park winner Aston Shine and promising youngster Gold Skulltula as the pick of his quintet.
Jose’s runners are (in race order); Aston Jupiter (R5), grand veteran Lots Of Chatter (R6), Aston Shine (R8), Aston Lights (R9) and Gold Skulltula (R12).
None of the five have raced at Healesville previously; however they all gained a taste of straight track experience when trialling midweek.
“I don’t really go over to Healesville that often,” said Catani-based Jose.
“I’m looking at keeping them fresh and giving them a change of scenery.
“As a rule, I’ve found in the past that when you take them to Healesville they come out of the boxes better when they go back to the circle. Nine times out of ten they’ll begin beautifully when you take them back to a circle track.
“I trialled all of them at Healesville on Wednesday and they went quite well. Aston Shine and Lots Of Chatter went the best and Gold Skulltula was about half a length behind them.”
Jose is especially bullish about the prospects of Aston Shine, a well-bred son of Fernando Bale and Fantastic Dotty, which has won 11 of his 47 starts and three of his past six, his most recent appearance a 10-length romp at Sandown Park, recording a Best Of Day 29.44sec.
The main danger to Aston Shine looms as Rob Camilleri’s Chop Scotch, which has won 15 from 37 and has two seconds from two appearances at Healesville.
Jose also expects youngster Gold Skulltula, a son of Ritza Lenny and Enlightenment that turns two on Monday and has won four from 14, to prove hard to beat from Box 2 in race 12.
WATCH: Aston Shine (8) careered away for an impressive 29.44sec (BOD) last start victory at Sandown Park on September 19.
“I really like Aston Shine,” Jose said.
“He’s my main chance. There’s some very good dogs in the race but I believe in his ability and I think he’ll win.
“He’s drawn off the track in Box 7 but while he wants the rail he won off ‘the pink’ at Sandown last start in 29.44sec.
“Gold Skulltula is a very nice dog. He’s had a few elbow issues but the potential is definitely there and I’m tickled pink he’s drawn near the rail. They’re my best two.”
There’s no doubting Jose’s soft spot for evergreen Lots Of Chatter, a son of Fernando Bale and Alotta Luck that has won 28 of his 81 starts, with 27 minor placings, and was a finalist in the G2 Cranbourne Cup back in February.
“Lots Of Chatter is getting on a bit now but he still going beautifully,” said Jose.
“He ran second at Sandown last start running 29.30sec, which will win you a race just about every day of the week.
“He’s ‘Mr. Consistency’ and I think he deserves to win a good race. I’ll give him another crack at winning a country cup and I know it’s a big task but we’ll give him another go at the Melbourne Cup too.
“With my other two runners, Aston Lights is an up-and-comer, while Aston Jupiter has gone off the boil a bit. He had an injury and hasn’t been quite the same dog since he came back.”
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