STRATHFIELDSAYE trainer Glenn Douglas is looking to the future with confidence after Ozzie Battler converted his early promise into a big win at Tabcorp Park Melton on Saturday night.
The two-year-old gelding had shown signs of ability when finishing second at both of his previous starts, but cranked it up to another level to record the first win of his career in start number three at harness racing headquarters,
Douglas, who has 32 winners this season, said he had headed to Melton fairly confident Ozzie Battler could get the job done.
“We had an opinion of him before he raced and up until Saturday night he had run runner-up in his first two, so I certainly wasn’t disappointed with those runs,” he said.
“We went into Saturday night’s race confident and he did a good job.
“He won relatively easy; they brushed out of the gate pretty quick.
“He beat the likes of Amelia Rose, who they tell me (leading Victorian trainer) Emma Stewart has a little bit of an opinion of, and The Tiger Army ($1.70 favourite) … to hold them off, I was quite impressed with my bloke.”
Ozzie Battler was brilliantly driven by Josh Duggan, who took the two-year-old straight to the front and was able to stave off some spirited challenges over the 1720m distance.
The win capped a handy few days for the Douglas stable after Ossie Battler’s four-year-old half-brother Ozzie Major won at Bendigo on Thursday night.
Douglas said he rated Ozzie Battler the better of the two in ability, but hoped to have some success with both.
“They are certainly not the same, but they’ve both got speed and a willingness to win,” he said.
Douglas said a highlight of Ozzie Major’s victory was adding to the coffers of the Team Teal campaign, with the horse being driven by Victorian ambassador and regular stable driver Monique Burnett.
“Moni is doing a lovely job, not only for myself and her career, but certainly for the ambassador role she is playing,” he said.
Douglas expects to return to Melton with Ozzie Battler in a fortnight’s time.
A busy week ahead will take the trainer to Melton on Monday night, Swan Hill on Thursday and back to Melton on Friday.
Meanwhile, Lockwood trainer Ron Wicks made it back-to-back wins with his mare Major Gait with a victory at Maryborough on Monday.
The four-year-old started a $1.80 favourite following her strong win at Tabcorp Park Melton on January 28 and narrowly scored a win over the fast-finishing Cripparno, from the Jason Camilleri stable.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.