Oscar Bonavena has reinvented himself many times after a long and distinguished career and Mark has fingers crossed things will work in his favour as he tries to add  the TAB Free for All with another display of scintillating speed that can overcome top rivals and bad luck.

Hopeful,rather than optimistic.

The Majestic Son gelding who had his first start for the Purdon stable at Cambridge Raceway in a Harness Jewels as a two year old, is not only from one of the most numerous  trotting families in the land and the most successful yet is  2nd best performer-headed only by the remarkable Take A Moment-  with over $600,000 in stakes and Trotter of the Year title.

But that didn’t impress the computer when the draws were done for the TAB Mile. Oscar ended up as the only horse on the second line= and in the best field he has ever met. It includes four Australian Group One winners and Muscle Mountain a star of last season before going amiss.

But you won’t get Mark to admit its all over. He has a few points in his own favour he reckons

“We are on the 2nd line and we are following out a top horse and a top driver (Queen Elida). If she holds the front we are going to be in quite a good position.And if not there will be plenty of early action and we may get a chance to get off into the right place.

No wonder Mark and Nathan are a little surprised that all of the shares in their Majestic Son colt bought at the sales did not go faster -there are still a few available.The deeds of Sundee Son,Majestic Man and Oscar along make him an elite achiever.

There is no underrating of the opposition.

“Just Believe is a magnificent horse. I really liked him when we were based with Jess Tubbs earlier. He is the horse to beat but I doubt Greg (Sugars) will be trying for the early lead.He doesn’t have the gate speed of a couple of others there but Oscar has that big final sprint so we will be hoping to drive him for that.

The best thing is how well he’ done. We have had a great week with him and he is trotting in great style. So that is the bonus.”

Mark is also steering WE WALK BY FAITH after his unlucky run in the Woodlands Derby.

“He seems as good as he was then. and VESSEM gets his chance. He has a nice gate and a slightly easier field so it will be interesting to see how he measures up.

And SELF ASSURED set a task from a gate which may be a blessing in disguise-or not ?

“As I have said before I don’t think all things being equal he could beat Don’t Stop Dreaming now and the other four year olds are a bit quick for him this season. But he could end up with the right runand he still has enough to be in the finish.

Pic: Oscar Bonavena – in the swim for the TAB Trotting Free for All

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