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Barbara Joseph can thank son and co-trainer Paul Jones for Close The Gap starting at Gundagai on Monday.

Jones accepted with Close The Gap at Canberra on Friday for the annual Barbara Joseph raceday and also paid up for Gundagai.

The four-year-old Catbird gelding was expected to race at Canberra but fortunately Joseph didn’t scratch from Gundagai before the Canberra meeting was unexpectedly cancelled due to a toxic factory fire in the area.

“It was lucky Paul accepted at both venues and even luckier he didn’t scratch from Gundagai Friday morning. Otherwise the horse would still be sitting home in its stall,” Joseph said.

Close The Gap tackles the McAlister, Sanderson, Stubbs Benchmark 55 Hcp (1000m).

Purchased as a yearling for $20,000, Close The Gap is raced by the Australian Hotel Motel Yass syndicate.

“I’ve had horses for them for over 20 years,” Joseph said. “We’ve had a bit of luck together.

“Close The Gap has had a lot of problems, crook knees and bled once.

“Since coming back this time around, he’s been real good.”

The gelding made his debut in May last year, tailing off, was spelled for 215 days, then resumed at Goulburn on December 21 and bled when 10th over 1000m.

However, since resuming this campaign, Close The Gap has strung together three good runs.

The gelding scored first-up in a 920m maiden at Moruya on July 15, then was beaten a nose when runner-up to Brahmose over 1000m at Narrandera on July 31 before finishing a length second to Satin Halo over 1080m on his home track on August 19.

“We gave him a couple of weeks off after Canberra and he freshened up nicely,” Joseph said.

“He’s a high maintenance horse, we do a lot of swimming with him because of his knees.

“Typical of the Catbird breed he’s getting better with maturity.

“He’s racing good and is a good chance on Monday.”

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