By Duane Ranger
Tamborine reinsman, Nathan Dawson, looks set to kick off the third night of the TAB Racing Queensland Winter Carnival with a win at Albion Park on Saturday night.
That race will be competed for at 5pm, but it's the 7.15pm event that has Dawson rubbing his hands together.
“I’ve got the horse to win my first Group One. Aileen (Smith) has got the filly going really well at the moment. She’s a lovely wee pacer, who will take some beating.
“She is developing into a nice little racehorse. She’s strengthening with each run. She’s going to develop into a real nice 3-year-old next season,” Dawson said.
The 23-year-old former Lowood State High School student, was referring to the Bettor's Delight bay filly, Jiggle And Jive, who is the $6.50 fourth favourite in a very open Egmont Park Stud QBRED Triad.
The 1,660m mobile, for the 2-year-old pacing fillies, is worth $100,000.
Jiggle And Jive, who made her debut with at Redcliffe on March 13, has now had five starts for two wins and two placings ($15,503).
"I've been rapt with her last two starts. She won well at Redcliffe two runs back and then was a nice second behind Governor Jujon on the first night of the Winter carnival.
"That good horse isn't in Saturday's field. I'm real excited about this race, because I have the filly to go close,” Dawson said.
“It would be a dream come true to win my first Group One race. This is why we all get up in the mornings. Every driver wants a Group One and I hope mine isn’t too far away,” said Dawson.
Dawson did win the Group Three Trotters Marathon behind the John Edmunds trained Spud at this meeting last year. This year he drives the Brad Connelly trained Needle in that race.
“I like all my drives this week. Needle can upset them, so can my $151 short in the last race. I love driving on Group nights and I’m hoping the night will kick off well with Jarrod’s (Alchin) pacer,” said Dawson who last season drove 200 winners ($990,182) for the first time.
He said he was especially grateful to Smith for the drive in the big one on Saturday night.
“Aileen gave me drives when I first started out six or seven years ago and she has stuck by me since. It would be such an honour to drive a Group One winner for her family.
“It would be pretty special. Even though we have a bad draw I’ll be looking to follow out some of the good ones and take it from there,” he said.
Such is the evenness of Saturday’s field there are five horses all paying single figure odds. They are Feels Like A Winner ($2.80), Amaya Becomes ($3.20), Girls Go On ($5.50), and Jiggle And Jive and the emergency, Ima Beach Babe, who are both quoted at $6.50.
Keith Croft owns and bred Jiggle And Jive.
Dawson has six drives on Saturday night including a steer in the Drivers’ Invitation Race (R2), a Group One (R5) and a Group Three (R6). He’s gone through the half dozen, and his comments (with trainer, draw, and odds) are:
Race 1: The Jarrod Alchin trained ONE HELL OF A RIDE (5) $1.70 – "He’s a pretty good chance in this and will be very hard to beat. He trialled last week at Menangle and was low flying (1:51). I’ll let him go forward and then hopefully he can stroll to the lead and then we can dictate all the pace. Win bet.”
Race 2: The Grant Dixon trained CLASSIE AMERICAN (6) $26 – "He has drawn awkwardly, but if he can get a nice run he has the ability to finish this race off nicely. He’s a good hope with the right run.”
Race 3: The Donny Smith trained SLICE OF HEAVEN (12) $13 - "He is back to his best and I actually think he is a nice chance in this. $13 is well overs for him. He is a versatile pacer who can do it tough on a fast pace. He seems to have plenty of petrol in the tank.”
Race 5: The Aileen Smith trained JIGGLE AND JIVE (6) $6.50 – "She is a nice filly, who is getting better with each run. She follows speed well and that’s what I will have to do from seven. I’ll see how the race pans out, but on her two most recent starts, she’s going to be a real threat in this. Each-way.”
Race 6: The Brad Connelly trained NEEDLE (9) - 10m) $13 – "Her run last week run was super and she’s seldom far away. If she can get the right run she could be the ‘smokey’ in this.”
Race 10: The Trevor Lambourn trained BATTLE BORN (7) $151 – "I’ve had good success with this horse despite having only had a few drives behind him. I have no idea where the bookmakers got that $151 price from. he’s way better than that. He’s drawn poorly but goes okay and could surprise a few here.”