Peter Daly is recognised as one of the states most experienced and accomplished horseman but he agrees last year’s Carnarvon season didn’t pan out exactly as he would have liked.
Daly’s morale took a bit of a hammering and with a record of two wins from 36 starts, he admitted it was a strike rate that didn’t sit comfortably on his proud shoulders.
But after a refresh in the off season where he picked up some handy acquisitions from Perth, Daly is prepared to believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
He is particularly looking forward to unveiling newcomers Zona Rosa and Fighters Second as well as following the progress of perennial placegetter, Trade My Pago.
Fighters Second, previously in the care of Donna Riordan, has drawn barrier seven in a field of nine for Misty Bazeley in the Condo Grapes Handicap (1000m).
The six-year-old, who last raced at Ascot in June when he finished six lengths shy of Shostakovich, is out to end an 898 day losing spell.
“I like him a lot and thought he was the one for me after his first workout,” said Daly.
“He has pretty good form behind some nice ones and has settled in so well.
“He has mellowed right out and it’s like he has been here all his life.”
Daly rates Gaintlike, who has three wins from his four attempts at the short course journey, as the biggest stumbling block to Fighters Second.
Daly is excited by what Zona Rosa can offer if not on Friday in the Direct Produce Distributors Handicap (1200m), then later in her preparation.
The four-year-old has earned a fair reputation after posting one win and two minor placings from her six career starts for top trainer, Adam Durrant.
“Everyone who I have spoken to from trainers to riders have given her a big tick,” said Daly.
“She goes good and Adam says she has the capacity to win a midweek race.
“Her work has been very nice and she is a terrific doer.
“She has been in work for about ten weeks but you wouldn’t know it.
“Whatever she does I’m certain she will improve.”
Daly concedes Trade My Pago is testing his patience but he is not prepared to write off the three-year-old who is out to break a run of four runner up finishes when he tackles the Paul’s Melons Maiden (1200m).
“On his work he is a superstar and you would have your house, wife, heart and everything on him,” said Daly.
“I’ve given him little work since his previous run but he should have the fitness to run out a strong 1200m.
“I think he has his foot on the till.”
Daly has In Plain Sight and Benevous targeting the Gascoyne Gold Handicap (1600m) but leans to the former who will relish the step up to the mile.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli