OLTRE Finito's career has been one of near misses, but Coffs Harbour trainer Sally Taylor says he will get his chance to win at Grafton.
The eight-year-old contests an Open Handicap over a mile this afternoon and is coming off a fifth placing at a Canterbury night meeting on January 18. But it was a better run than that and he was just two lengths off the winner Franceso.
"He probably should have won, if not run a place," Taylor said.
"He couldn't get out until the last 100m and that's when he was doing his best work.
"It (class drop) definitely does help, as does the barrier (4). I think the long straight at Grafton is more ideal for him than Canterbury, too."
Oltre Finito won his first three career starts in Victoria in the autumn of 2013. But has only managed to rack up one more win since, and Taylor is still searching for his first win for her since she took over as trainer last July. He's run a couple of seconds this campaign and is never far off.
"He probably should have won at least three this preparation. He's an absolute gem now and he's my favourite in the stable," she said.
The plan is to ride Oltre Finito conservatively, saving up energy, so he can sprint hard in the big, open straight. Off his last run the mile won't be a problem.
"He used to overrace a lot and I've taught him to settle now so if you can save him up, his last 200 metres is usually his best," Taylor said.
"Once they're all finishing off his run he's just starting to make his so hopefully Grafton will suit him.
"If there's speed I'd like him to settle off it, but if not I'd like to see him box seat on the rails. They generally peel off the fence at Grafton so it won't matter if he does get a bit stuck because he won't make his run until they straighten up."
Taylor's other runner today is Arrogant Boy, who is having his first start for her.
He's drawn out in gate 17 and will be taken to fence and sit towards the rear of the field in a Class 1 Handicap (1206m).
Taylor is still learning about the Congrats gelding and has taken the blinkers off and put winkers on.
"He's quite fiery and I've given him one jump-out and he won that impressively," she said.
"Camayoc (stablemate) ran fourth at Grafton last Saturday and Arrogant Boy flogged him in a track gallop, so if that's anything to go off he should be competitive."
Taylor, 25, has 13 horses in work.
Her win with Rednav in the 2016 Grafton Cup kickstarted her career in a big way and she's looking to add a few more horses to the stable.
"That was a big deal. It gave me a lot of confidence and put me on the map as far as getting horses. I learnt a lot with Rednav, so I owe a lot to that horse," she said.