SUCCESS at Donald yesterday has given Bendigo trainer Andrew Sawden the prefect lead-in to Saturday's Golden Mile race day.
The former Bellarine Peninsula trainer broke through for a confidence-boosting win with the lightly-raced mare Mosarbe in a fillies and mares benchmark 58 over 1200m.
He hopes to continue that momentum when he saddles up recent Moonee Valley placegetter Huge Action in the $75,000 Mitchelton Wines Benchmark 84 Handicap at Bendigo on Saturday.
Sawden will head into the feature race meeting reasonably confident with the four-year-old gelding, who has won two of his career starts, including one at Bendigo over the same 1100m distance as Saturday's race.
"He's a very nice horse .... if they could all gallop like he does I'd be a happy trainer," Sawden said.
"He's drawn well. I think in 12 months time he could be a very good sprinting horse. He's only a lightly-raced four-year-old.
"He's done enough to say 'gee that horse can run along'. And I have buggered him around with (stable) moves and settling periods.
"He hasn't been easy on him - it hasn't been easy on anyone in the team.
"From eight or nine years on the Bellarine Peninsula to out here in the desert, how does anyone cop that," he added in reference to Bendigo's dry climate and lack of rainfall.
Huge Action is sure to appreciate the short step up in distance after his second behind the smart Enver Jusufovic gelding Makahu Boy over 955m.
The bottom-weight in the 13-horse field at 54kg, he will be ridden by Jye McNeil, who is fresh from his first Group 2 success aboard Fifty Stars at Rosehill earlier this month.
Among his rivals will be fellow Bendigo-trained galloper Carlingford, who will be one of two runners on the day for Mick Sell.
Sawden, who has been based in Bendigo just shy of 12 months, acknowledged getting a winner on a feature race day like the Golden Mile was always a thrill for home track trainers.
While his preference - being Queensland born and bred -would be to land one of the big races during Brisbane's winter carnival, Sawden admits he won't be hard to spot at the racecourse on Saturday should Huge Action get the win.
The 53-year-old second-generation trainer is as enthusiastic about the racing caper as he was the day he got his first win as a jockey at 15, and is prone to showing plenty of exuberance when one of his horses triumphs.
"I've done a fair apprenticeship ... and the candle in me burns pretty bright," Sawden said.
"I don't sit on my heels, I'm on my toes wherever I go.
"We can produce a fair horse - we cross our t's and dot our i's, we do everything the best as humanly possible.
"The only thing you get out something is by putting in."
The Mitchelton Wines Benchmark 84 Handicap is one of nine races on Saturday, with the first scheduled for 12.15pm.
Fields for Golden Mile race day will be published in Saturday's Bendigo Advertiser.
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