McCullum aiming to kick-start season at Albury

Laura McCullum (second from right) will hope to kick-start her season at Albury on Friday. Photo: Racing photos.

Laura McCullum will present a handful of runners at Albury’s Friday meeting with the trainer hoping to pinch her first win of the new season on her home track.  

“Even just one win would be nice, they are few and far between and it would be good to get one at home,” McCullum said. 

The stable’s best chance likely arrives in the 1175m Maiden Handicap with the in-form Fiorensact hoping to break through at start number four with Mathew Cahill in the saddle. 

The Fiorente gelding has placed twice in three starts, running a second at Moe and third at Werribee and McCullum indicated the five-year-old had come up well after a 39-week spell.

“The maiden is a nice horse, everything has gone right this preparation,” McCullum said. 

“We are happy with how he is working. An upgrade to the track would be nice and if it does get better, he would be our best chance for sure.”

According to the Albury trainer, another maiden that could feature at good odds is Pate, with the six-year-old stepping out as a second-up commodity in the 1600m Maiden Plate. 

McCullum believed it was worth putting a line through the Jimmy Choux gelding’s first-up run and based on his work since making his race day debut at Wodonga over the unsuitable 1200m journey, he should finish a lot closer on Friday with Mathew Cahill in the saddle. 

“The one in the maiden mile, Pate, he might be a nice surprise for a place at good odds,” McCullum said. 

“We have made a little gear change on him (tongue tie), he is going well and he has just been really strong in his work and he hasn’t faulted since that run at Wodonga.

“Plus, that was just a run, that was his first start and if you look at his breeding, his is by a Derby horse and out of a mare that has thrown horses that stay over 2400m – he is going to be a dead-set stayer.”

It could be a productive few days for the stable with McCullum also confident that Bell’s Innocent can perform well at Gundagai on Sunday. 

The six-year-old is fourth up this preparation and draws gate 12, while four-kilogram claimer Fiona Sandkhul takes the ride in the 1400m Benchmark 66 Handicap. 

“I’ve made a gear change on him too, he is working like he should go close,” McCullum said. 

“He didn’t quite let down enough at Wagga, and he came back with a throat infection, but we have sorted that, and his blood came back spot on and hopefully he goes well.”

It shapes to be an exciting second year as a fulltime trainer for McCullum, who prepared and trained her first ever winner last year, while also watching on as Necessary became the stable’s first runner in town in NSW and Victoria, racing at both Rosehill and Sandown. 

“It was a good start, and I’ve still got the 12 in work, I haven’t yet put in an application to Racing NSW to have more horses and that is something I’ve got to sit down and find the time to do eventually,” McCullum laughed. 

“I really hope we can have a good season. I’ve got a couple of young ones that should debut in the next month or so, and they could be handy country horses and a few of the old ones are back and they had good wins last season.”

For punters wanting to follow the action at Albury on Friday, racing kicks off 1.10pm and full fields can be viewed by clicking here