Doug Gorrel to embark on Canberra to Coonamble expedition

Keep Me Posted and Anaelle Gangotena will be chasing more picnic success at Coonamble on Saturday. Photo: Racing Photography.

A big road trip awaits Canberra trainer Doug Gorrel on Saturday as he prepares for a three-pronged assault on the Coonamble picnic meeting. 

Gorrel and his team will make the 13-hour round trip in a bid to earn valuable Picnic Champion Series points.

“It is a hike, but there will be plenty of drivers and we will probably stop halfway, get them out, stretch their legs and make sure their happy,” Gorrel said. 

“It’s bloody six and half hours but it’s all about getting Keep Me Posted into the (Picnic Champion Series) final.

“I think he is on 15 points, and he needs a run anyhow and there is no low-level racing, so we thought we would head that way.”

A myriad of lost community and picnic events has hurt the likes of Gorrel, who carry the odd picnic horse.

“So many meetings have been cancelled because of Covid and being washed out and there is not enough of those low-level picnics and non tabbers,” Gorrel said. 

“So, we will pack up the kitchen sink and try our luck in Coonamble.”

The Canberra trainer will team up with jockey Anaelle Gangotena on the day and he believed Keep Me Posted was his best chance, with the nine-year-old drawing gate four in the 1300m Open Trophy Handicap. 

“Keep Me Posted is a tough old horse and should go alright Sunday, he is just a good picnic horse,” Gorrel said. 

“That run at Wagga was unsuitably heavy; he does like a bit of give in the ground, but not that much, so we expect him to run well.”

Gorrel also has Georgian Court contesting the 1600m Class Two Handicap, while Sheeza Menzies will contest the 1400m Class B Handicap.

The Canberra trainer explained it was tough going when trying to place his horses at the moment, and once the current picnic racing season ended, he would have to sell some runners.

“I will keep the two horses for the final (Keep Me Posted and Sestina), but the rest will have to go on the market, and we will hope that the weaker racing jurisdictions can pick them up,” Gorrel said. 

The last-minute Coonamble meeting was reasonably well supported by participants, with 46 acceptances across the six-race-program. Racing jumps at 1.30pm and the Coonamble Jockey Club will be supporting Royal Far West, with all entries being donated to the good cause.