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WYONG trainer Damien Lane is a man of his word!

Today’s fourth Qualifier (1200m) at Gosford of the Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championship was initially scheduled some time back for a Saturday date, ruling out the top bracket of Sydney jockeys, so Lane was quick off the mark to book Newcastle’s Aaron Bullock for his very consistent sprinter Fielding.

And he was prepared for Bullock to ride the gelding 1kg overweight at 57kg.

When a number of dates were changed by Racing NSW, Lane stuck solid.

“I was happy to stick with Aaron,” Lane said. “He won on Fielding at Scone last July at his only ride on him.”

Bullock, currently the State’s leading jockey with 99.5 wins this season, is on the verge of hitting a century for the fourth time (his best so far was 107 in 2017-18), and may well achieve that in today’s $150,000 Qualifier.

An $85,000 weanling purchase in Melbourne in 2019 on the recommendation of Lane’s father-in-law, former Central Coast trainer Bob Law, the now Deep Field four-year-old Fielding has been a wonderful performer for his connections and has already more than recouped that outlay, winning three races and being placed seven times from only 11 starts.

His sole unplaced run was a close fourth in a Class 1 Handicap (1000m) at Hawkesbury last June (he won for Bullock nine days later at Scone), and his trainer says he was unlucky that day not to have won.

Fielding hasn’t raced since finishing a narrow third to Per Inaway (a rival again today) in the Malcolm Cusick Class 4 Handicap over the same course on December 28; a week after a midweek city breakthrough at Warwick Farm in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1100m).

But he is ready to go; his trainer’s only regret being that he has drawn awkwardly.

“Fielding is a clean-winded horse, and has had a few good gallops at home,” Lane said.

“I was disappointed he didn’t draw a single digit barrier, but we can’t do anything about that.

“Hopefully Aaron can get him into a midfield spot with cover.

“Fielding is a really nice horse with a lot of upside, and we’ve always had it in mind to aim him at this series.”

In an open market, another four-year-old, the lightly-raced Newcastle sprinter Kayobi (Brenton Avdulla), is the current $4.40 favorite with for the Gosford race, which is for both eligible Provincial and Midway horses.

Current Provincial-Midway Championship Final favorite Loch Eagle, who has been gelded, is next at $6, with locally-trained Kylie Gavenlock’s Audette at $8, and Cruel Summer at $9.

Lane has already qualified Denetta for the $500,000 Final (1400m) on April 8, courtesy of her second to Phearson in the second Qualifier at Hawkesbury on March 4, and won’t start her again before then.

“She is a light filly who hit the line well at the end of 1400m at Hawkesbury, so the five weeks between runs is perfect,” he said.

“Denetta had a week in the paddock after Hawkesbury. She has a good record and deserves her spot in the Final.”

Four-times Final winner Kris Lees has a strong hand with five runners Kinloch (Dylan Gibbons), Loch Eagle (Josh Parr), Per Inaway (Sam Clipperton), Samoot (Jay Ford) and Miracle Day (Andrew Gibbons).

Rather surprisingly, he is yet to qualify a Finalist in the first three heats, and says he is due to change that situation.

“You can make a case for all four horses,” he said.

“Kinloch won the Gosford Qualifier last year and then the Final at Randwick, and I felt he was my best chance tomorrow, but his wide draw is a bit tricky.

“Per Inaway won at Gosford last December at her only start there, and Samoot will give herself every chance from an inside draw.

“Loch Eagle is the current favorite for the Final, but 1200m around Gosford first-up might be a bit of a question.”

As well as Bullock riding Fielding 1kg over, Racing NSW stewards have also given permission for Josh Parr to ride Loch Eagle 1kg at 57kg, and Sam Clipperton to declare 0.5kg on Per Inaway at 56kg.

*WORDS - John Curtis

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