Off To A Flier — Canberra Trainer Norm Gardner

 Canberra trainer Norm Gardner has kicked off the 2016-17 racing season in grand style delivering four winners from his five stable runners.

The most recent was the Charge Forward gelding Bootlegging, who took out Saturday’s $60,000 Highway Plate at Randwick at the luxurious odds of 66-1.

It was Gardner’s second Highway winner. Atom Eve saluted for the stable at Randwick in January.

Gardner says he gave Bootlegging “a real good chance.”

“He kept running up backsides and never got into it second-up at Rosehill in a Highway.

“He then raced at home on the heavy, but because he’d missed a hard run in Sydney he just knocked up.

“Leading up to Randwick I swum him twice a day for the week and he was clearly feeling so well in himself I said to the owners: ‘I reckon he can with this’ (the Randwick Highway).

“He showed big promise as a young horse, but he’s had problems with soreness. This is the first time I have got him up to his fourth start with out something going wrong.

“He’ll race at Wagga on Tuesday in a Benchmark 65 over a mile. He doesn’t enjoy heavy tracks, but the soft is perfect for him.

“He’s only getting warmed up and I think he’s got a good future.”

Gardner — who has 12 horses in work — says Atom Eve has been spelled for three months.

“She pulled up with some soreness in her knee from her Canterbury placing and she will be aimed at The Championships third-up.

“The Canterbury run was enormous and she will benefit from her time in the paddock.”

Gardner has high hopes for ex Adelaide galloper Snowbrook who blitzed a Maiden field at Wagga at her last start. She’s been nominated for Saturday’s Highway Handicap at Rosehill.

“She came to me after one run. I galloped her over two furlongs and she went enormous, and I realised I had a good horse on my hands.   

“At her first run for me — on the heavy at Canberra — she ran second to the very handy No When To Hold Them. Matt Cahill got off and said: ‘This filly will win anything you put her into’.

“Matt couldn’t ride her at Wagga and was replaced by John Kissick, and he said he hadn’t sat on top of a horse this good for ages; impressed with her sheer acceleration.

“I may not go to the Highway and run her in a city filly and mares at Canterbury instead. But she’s a dead-set city horse this filly.”

At Canberra on Friday Gardner has Law Of The Land and Madam Tilly engaged.

Law Of The Land resumed with a Wagga win on the slow.

He’s an older horse that needs the speed on, but if he can be held up he has a really good finish. 

"He’s not a real heavy tracker, but he will be competitive again.

“Madam Tilly is a very good horse who has had a tie-back operation. She won well two back on debut and I expect her to go close first-up on Friday.”