6yo Finally Ready To Fulfill His Potential At Corowa (Thursday)

Late bloomer O’Reg was almost six years of age when he commenced racing and after a few failed attempts, he is now starting to deliver on his potential.

O'REG winning the Shire Of Strathbogie Mdn Plate.
O'REG winning the Shire Of Strathbogie Mdn Plate. Picture: Racing Photos.

The gelding has the recent form to prove a force at Corowa on Thursday in the Naughtin Development Group Class 2 (900m).

His stablemate Okra is also well-placed to win for his owners and trainer Allan Fitzgerald in the Balldale Hotel Class 2 (1600m).

The former multiple premiership-winning jockey called Corowa home for more than 10 years as the main rider for the powerful Richard Freyer stable.

Fitzgerald and his family now train a team of nine horses at Wangaratta and it's always a special time for him when he returns to Corowa where he had so much success.

"They were great days riding back then – lots of winners for a great trainer," Fitzgerald said. "We have also had some success there training and I hope it continues on Thursday.

"O'Reg is promising and the form around him is strong to again prove hard to beat.

"Okra is a 2000 metre horse who we decided to save for Corowa instead of Wangaratta on Monday when the track was rated heavy and he drew badly."

Wagga jockey Nick Heywood will have the ride on the pair and recently won aboard both horses at Albury (O'Reg) and Wagga (Okra).

Fitzgerald, whose family are largely involved in the horses with his wife Genevieve having helped breed O'Reg, described it as "heartbreaking" each time the galloper was ready to race and win.

"He went shin sore at least four times and was ready to win so it was disappointing when he kept going sore," he said. "He has had four runs this preparation and has been fine."

O'Reg's second behind the talented Brenlyn's Trooper at Albury in April is an indicator of his ability with the latter going on to finish second in the Listed Creswick Stakes at Flemington last Saturday.

Brenlyn's Trooper also went on to defeat Yeldarb at his next start at Albury and that galloper won again at Wangaratta on Monday.

O'Reg has raced once since his win at Albury for a fifth at Wagga behind Willybeafactor which has won his past three starts for trainer Graham Byatt.

Willybeafactor will also start at Corowa in the Corowa Chaff Mill Benchmark 58 (1400m) against Just Business which was an eye-catching first-up second at Wagga.

Fitzgerald expects the form around O'Reg to hold firm and from an inside draw in two he feels the gelding will figure in the finish. The topweight Flying Finch has drawn the rails - inside of O'Reg - and also has the right form line to back up from his win in a strong maiden grade race at Scone.

"He didn't run the distance (1200m) last start so he is back in distance and drawn beautifully to be a big chance," he suggested. "I think he has enough ability to go through his grades.

"Okra has drawn wide in ten, but that is alright for him because he can be a bit tardy away."

Last start Wagga maiden winner Fioroso took 17 starts to break through for trainer Barry Goodwin and again appears the main danger to Okra.

Meanwhile, Corowa trainer Rick Freyer has accepted with eight of his stable runners including imported gallopers, Peronne and Vela in the Upton Centre Pivot Irrigation Class 1 (1200m). His best chances appear to be recent winners Riverina Boy and Blazing Engine.

The owners of maiden galloper Why Big Bry will also be searching for a change of luck in the Border Bandage Maiden (1000m). Why Big Bry has raced seven times since he started his career in October 2018 and has been placed on five occasions.

The four-year-old will resume again after having last raced when second at Balaklava in South Australia last November.

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