Gayna Williams trio ready to fire in the Highway

Bathurst-based Gayna Williams will send a trio of chances to Rosehill on Saturday to contest the Tab Highway Plate (1500m).

Tags, Zoo Station and Bondi Blue will make the trip to Sydney and all three have the ability to win on Saturday.

The most interesting runner is Tags, a rising four-year-old gelding who boasts three wins from his six career starts.

The son of Sidestep finished third in the Highway two weeks ago and Gayna Williams believes he can be a Country Championships contender in 2022.

“I definitely think he can be (a Country Championships horse), most definitely, and he’ll take that bit of time too,” she said.

“He’s still very green and doesn’t quite understand what the job is about at this stage.

“He’s always shown ability, but he’d been a bit of a slower learner, a bit slow to mature.

“Next year, hopefully he might come into his own a bit by then. He’d have a bit more racing and know what the caper’s about then, just know what the job is at hand.

“At this stage, he’s just a little bit slow to learn how to put things together, but hopefully that’ll come to him in a few months’ time.”

Zoo Station is back for her third Highway in a row and will jump from barrier four with Regan Bayliss retaining the ride.

She won the Highway first-up this preparation and was an eye-catching run last start when finishing sixth after the wide barrier forced her to race further back than anticipated.

Williams says the four-year-old has improved since her last start.

“She’s pulled up very well from her last run when she was sixth at Randwick,” she said.

“It was a good run, she got back to last and she gave the leaders a long break and only got beaten three lengths.

“Her run was exceptionally good, we’re very pleased with her and she’s trained on really well.

“Hopefully she might be three or four pairs back, but I’ll leave that entirely up to Regan (Bayliss).

“He was confident last start (that) had she drawn a better gate, she would’ve been in the finish.

“I know Regan will be a lot happier with the barrier draw this time.”

The Bathurst-based trainer will also saddle-up former Peter and Paul Snowden galloper Bondi Blue.

The four-year-old has had three runs under Williams’ name and will contest his first Highway on Saturday, with the Bathurst-based trainer electing not to send him to Kembla Grange. Williams says the son of Lonhro will appreciate the step up to the 1500m.

“It’s a bit of an experiment with him on Saturday,” she said.

“We’re stepping him up to the 1500m which I feel he needs, and Jay Ford mentioned that after he rode him after his last start at Hawkesbury.

“He said he needs further, and we’ll have him up closer to the speed this time.

“He’s had quite a few issues, back issues and he’s taken a little bit of time to get going.

“He’s a lot better this prep and at this stage he is staying sound and we haven’t seen any of the recurring issues with him.”

Williams has also welcomed back 2020 The Kosciuszko contender El Mo to her Bathurst base.

The son of Uncle Mo was performing well in midweek metropolitan company but suffered a bone chip in his knee that required surgery.

He returned to Williams’ stables last Sunday, but a decision has not been made whether he will attempt to reach The Kosciuszko or not.

“He’s had some rehab and had six months off in the paddock and he’s just back this week,” Williams said.

“I haven’t discussed it with the owner just yet (about The Kosciuszko), but probably just see how he goes and see how he comes through and copes with the operation.

“It should be fine, but we’ll just make sure the post operation procedure is done correctly and we should have a handy horse again hopefully.”

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