Menneke Belle’s journey to her first Highway Handicap will be used as a template for the next generation of Warren Gavenlock’s city-class runners.
The former Gosford and Wyong based trainer brings the five-year-old mare to Rosehill on Saturday from his current base in Coffs Harbour with two goals in mind.
Ideally Menneke Belle will extend her run of top three placings in her past six starts, while Gavenlock also wants to make sure he has the right travel plans in place.
“If you finish in the top three it’s worthwhile and it’s a trip to get a guide on in case you have to do it again in the future, travelling so far,” Gavenlock said.
“We’ve got a couple of other horses that may make that grade down the track and there’s nothing better than to try the trip with one of your own.”
Gavenlock returned to training full time in March after a stint as the course curator at Armidale.
He has a high opinion of Menneke Belle who has won two of her past three starts at Grafton.
“She’s been a handy little mare without being real good and I think she warrants a crack at it,” he said.
“She races against that class of horse up here anyway. She gets the Queensland invaders come down and they’re a bit tough at times. We rate her a chance.”
Menneke Belle was a $23 chance for the 1100-metre race with the TAB on Thursday.
The Matthew Dunn-trained Lifesaver was the $1.95 favourite to give Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn his 12th win in a Highway race restricted to country-trained horses.
Last Saturday week, Lifesaver finished second to debutant Another Sin who races in the Group Three San Domenico Stakes.