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Kembla Grange trainer Robert Price is thrilled to see a $1 million race at his home track but he has called on racing officials to go a step further.

Country trainers have been catered to during the spring with The Kosciuszko and Country Classic, along with weekly Highway Handicaps exclusively for country-trained horses.

But Price says provincial trainers could also use a boost and sees the stand-alone meetings at Newcastle last weekend and Kembla on Saturday as the perfect opportunities.

“I probably have a bit of sour grapes that we’re missing out in that there’s no stand-alone provincial race there,” Price said.

“I don’t mind taking on the big guys, it’s part of the fun.

“But once you start giving the guys down the bottom extra stuff and the guys at the top are always getting extra stuff, the middle is missing out.

“If you don’t say anything and put something out there, nothing changes.

“But other than that it’s a good concept getting those two stand-alone meetings to the provincial areas.”

Price trains in partnership with his son Luke and while they don’t have a horse in the main race, the $1 million The Gong (1600m), they will saddle up five runners on the nine-race card.

Among them is Eugene’s Pick in the Harrigan Motor Group Handicap (2000m).

The mare has shown ability on the training track but struggled to consistently reproduce it on race day.

“She’s a bit like driving a Volkswagen on the highway,” Price said.

“You’re travelling really good and you can pop out but she just doesn’t quicken.

“She’ll have two fresh runs early in her prep where she will quicken and then once you get deeper into her prep she gets to that one speed.”

Price said the stable had experimented with riding her conservatively but would adopt more positive tactics on Saturday provided she stepped cleanly.

“Personally, I like to see her up on the speed and out of trouble and the best success we’ve had with her as been by doing that,” Price said.

“She goes well at home and her last bit of work was good this morning.”

Price reported the bush fire smoke that has plagued Sydney had not made its way to Kembla and he is confident Saturday’s meeting will not only go ahead, but prove a resounding success.

I don’t know how they’re going to fit the crowd in to be honest,’ Price said.

“Even though we’re in a drought you’re going to see it in all its glory on the weekend because the track looks absolutely amazing and it raced super last weekend.”

 
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