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Doug Gorrel started training 18 months ago and the pinnacle of that brief career unfolds at Rosehill when he lines up the pick of his four-horse stable in the Highway Handicap (1100m).

Imitation Game came to Gorrel after he was convinced to take him over from fellow Canberra trainer Matt Dale with the pair rivals on Saturday.

There is the possibility Imitation Game’s trip to Sydney for the Highway race could be a one-off because the Canberra area may be reclassified as provincial rather than country by Racing NSW.

If that scenario plays out Canberra trainers will be barred from running horses in the Highway races for country-trained horses

Gorrel, one of six Canberra trainers preparing horses in Saturday’s field of 12, preferred to focus on getting Imitation Game for their first road trip to Sydney.

“It’s probably a leap a bit too high for him but a $60,000 race, we thought we’d roll the dice,” Gorrel said.

“He’s nearing the end of this prep but he’s still training well and working well.”

Imitation Game has had seven starts in a preparation that included his transfer from Dale to Gorrel in May.

“Matt just wants metropolitan class horses so he was ready to move this fella on. He suggested he’d be ideal for me,” Gorrel said.

Owners duly stumped up $16,500 and in three starts he has recouped his purchase price through his maiden win at Nowra last month and two placings at Wagga.

While Gorrel appreciated the heads-up from Dale, he will be even more appreciative if Imitation Game can upstage the $4 favourite, Surprise Party.

“I’d rather Matt not have a runner but if I can knock him off there’ll be a carton of grog for him,” he said.

 
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