Brett Dodson has Kapsali firing at Coffs Harbour

The Brett Dodson-trained Kapsali was a very good winner at Coffs Harbour on Monday. Image: Bradley Photos.

It was a good training effort by Brett Dodson at Coffs Harbour on Monday, who appears to have worked out the secret to his enigmatic galloper, Kapsali. 

The Coffs Harbour trainer was ordered to trial the five-year-old after he stood flat-footed in the barriers before starting well behind the field when contesting a 1315m Benchmark 74 Handicap at Caffs Harbour on December 29. 

Dodson didn’t rest on his laurels. He trialled the More Than Ready gelding twice, and after tinkering with a few changes at home, he unleashed Kapsali at Coffs Harbour on Monday.

Taking on the Bruce Hopkins Memorial 1500m Benchmark 82, Kapsali ($6.50) wasn’t electric out of the barriers and missed the kick by a half-length before settling in last position. 

Ridden by Luke Rolls, the Coffs Harbour galloper made his move on the home turn, and charging down the outside of the track, they won by four lengths from stablemate Olakau’atu (Matthew Bennett, $2.90) while over five lengths off the pace in third was the Ross Stitt-trained Casirina (Ben Looker, $5)

“We’ve had a few issues with him, but we had the barrier blanket on him at Coffs Harbour, and it seemed to work,” Dodson told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

“He’s always shown potential, but it was a matter of working him out and getting him right. 

“I was a bit concerned about how heavy the track was and that he was first-up over 1500m, and I thought it might pull him up, but he got through it really well, and it was a good win.”

When quizzed on the need to trial Kapsali and what he did to turn his galloper around, Dodson said there was some trial and error. 

“You have got to know the reason he is doing it, and that’s something we still haven’t worked out,” Dodson said. 

“He’s not hurting anywhere, and we have had him checked, but he did experience a couple of bumps early on in his career. Maybe it’s just him not wanting to get knocked around in the first 50 yards of a race. 

“We tried blinkers, giving him a real good dig out, and forcing him, but it wasn’t working, so we went the other way and put on our kid’s gloves and gave him the security of the blanket, and he is gradually starting to jump better by doing it.”

After two trials, Kapsali was ready to race on Monday, but Dodson had taken his time with the six-time winner, who has earned connections over $146,000 in just 21 starts. 

While undoubtedly talented, his trainer has had to be very patient.

“Early on, I tipped him out because I wasn’t happy with him,” Dodson said.

“He was going really well but went off the boil after his first trial. 

“His bloods showed up okay, but he wasn’t himself, and I told the owners we’d be patient with him and get him back as soon as he could gallop. 

“He had a few weeks in the paddock, and we started again, and eventually, it all came together very nicely.”

Kapsali will head to the Hannam Vale Cup 1600m Benchmark 82 Handicap at Taree on Tuesday, March 26.

It’s set to be a stepping-stone for the Coffs Harbour galloper, who will likely be set for Country Cups and Big Dance qualifiers later this preparation.

“He is going to the Hannam Vale Cup, and he’s handled Taree before, so he should be suited,” Dodson said.

“Then we’ll play it by ear and see how he comes through it. 

“It would be nice to qualify him for the Big Dance or one of those races and some of these Country Cups that are coming up should suit him.”