Written By Ben Sporle for racing.com
Tom Dabernig is eyeing the new season with great optimism from his Warrnambool base having recently moved into his new 40-horse on-course stable complex.
Dabernig gave stable star Flying Mascot her first hit out ahead of her spring assault at Penshurst on Thursday but reflected fondly on his first twelve months at the ‘Bool.
Preparing 40 winners, nine of them at metropolitan level in his first season back solo, Dabernig ran at an enviable 24 per cent strike-rate.
“The second full-season down here I will be better for understanding the tracks and beaches and how best to utlise it,” Dabernig said, who departed Lindsay Park midway through last year.
“We started with less than a dozen horses and now we have the new stables operational in the last four months and we have 40 in work now.
“The main thing for me is I am able to get horses performing consistently and recovering well and performing again.
“Everywhere is a bit of a trip from Warrnambool but I have actually found that the advantages of getting them home and the recovery at the beach in the country environment probably outweighs the extra hour on the float.
“Having been hands on the tools down here I can now see how winners come out of here.”
While construction to include a walker and other facilities are going on around Dabernig’s stables, he has resisted the temptation at this stage to take on an extra 10 boxes.
Blaike McDougal went to Penshurst on Thursday to give Flying Mascot a soft jump out, who is set to trial at St Arnaud on August 15 before a possible kick-off in the Cockram Stakes twelve days later.
Dabernig said holding the daughter of Tavistock together through her spring campaign will be the key.
“I am a little bit undecided on plans,” Dabernig admitted.
“The Empire Rose at Flemington, a Group 1 mile, is probably the main target and I was thinking about a few early runs, a freshen up in the middle of the spring and then have one run into the Flemington week.
“She is a mare this in both her spring and autumn campaign she probably gets a little vulnerable and we haven’t been able to get to that fifth or sixth run in, so I am trying to hold her together.
“When she’s been winning she’s been winning really quite well and by big margins and she doesn’t give herself an easy run and puts in quite a bit of effort.
“She’s is not one I could front up every two weeks.
“She is proven at that Group 3 level and if she puts it all together the Group 1 level is not beyond her but you just need everything to line up.”