Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Italian Plate winner tough to call

Tatura trainer Kevin Evans believes there are quite a few chances to win this year's Italian Plate race, although he does not have high hopes for his runner, Mr O'Postrophe.

OLIVER CAFFREY December 7, 2013 4:25am

Tatura trainer Kevin Evans believes tomorrow’s Italian Plate could be one of the closest races in years.

Evans does not have big expectations for his horse Mr O’Postrophe, but is hoping to use it as a springboard into longer races as the gelding eases back into racing.

The Evans-owned and trained horse is the only local running in the main race of tomorrow’s Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club Italian Plate Festival.

Evans said the field for the $20000 race looked one of the strongest in a number of years.

‘‘The field for the plate is one of the strongest for quite a while, normally you get one or two that are outstanding, but there are quite a few that will be chances to win this year,’’ he said.

‘‘Most fields have about 10 to 12 horses running and that is a great sign for the club.’’

Evans said the eight-year-old Mr O’Postrophe ran well at Bendigo two weeks ago in his third race back after a four-month lay-off, which bode well for tomorrow’s race.

‘‘He’s mainly in there as a step up to eventually go to a further distance,’’ he said.

‘‘He’s really a 2000m horse, but being one of the club’s main races for the year, we thought we’ll have a crack at it, but there’s no big expectations.’’

Experienced jockey Michael Heagney will take the reins of Mr O’Postrophe in the absence of Kerang’s Jye McNeil, who will be riding Jetconi in the plate.

The Evans stable also has Sultana running in the last race of the day, the Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation Handicap.

Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club chief executive Desiree Pettit said ticket sales were up on last year.

‘‘It’s always hard to tell, but we’ve got about 1400 pre-booked tickets and the forecast is for 30°C and sunny,’’ she said.

‘‘The marquees will all be full, so we’re hoping for a great day if the weather holds off.

‘‘The Fashions on the Field is always popular and we’ve already had a lot of interest in that.’’

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