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Veteran trainer Mario Caltabiano gives much of the credit for Budget Bender’s return to form to his strapper and soon-to-be trainer David Fletcher.

Budget Bender will be aiming for his third win in a row when he backs up in Saturday’s Open Handicap (2040m) at Doomben six days after victory at the Sunshine Coast

Budget Bender had not won since January 2015 before claiming a 1700m-win at Ipswich in late July.

The eight-year-old gelding made it two wins on the trot when he led all the way to win over 1800m at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.

Budget Bender has had more than his share of problems in a career which has been restricted to 31 starts for seven wins and seven placings.

“He has had the big three – a throat operation, knee surgery and trouble with his feet. But David has done a lot of work with him and deserves a lot of the credit for his renewed winning form,” Caltabiano said.

“David will take over the horse next month when he applies for a trainer’s licence. He is a good young horseman and I will sit back and help him around the stables.”

Caltabiano trained for 35 years in Sydney, firstly at Canterbury and then Warwick Farm, before moving to the Gold Coast to retire four years ago.

He brought Budget Bender with him and the gelding won three of his first four Queensland starts.

“I was up here to retire but I’ve kept a few horses in work. Budget Bender has been good to me,” he said.

Caltabiano said Budget Bender would back up provided he was happy with him in the next few days.

“I put him in as a late entry after I saw there were only a few original nominations. Apart from a couple of horses it doesn’t look the strongest of races,” Caltabiano said.

“He looks the leader and he should run a strong 2000 metres.”

Only six horses were accepted for the Help Enterprises Open with last-start winner Mr Epic the topweight and favourite.

 
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