Trent Dawson has redemption on his mind for his loyal owners when he chases his maiden Group 1 triumph on Saturday evening at Albion Park.
The Clarendon-based trainer, who has around 15 in work at his property, heads to the QBRED TRIAD 3YO Fillies Group 1 (2138m) with two leading chances - Talent To Spare and Kissesforyamisses.
The Dawson fillies had mixed fortunes when the barriers were drawn on Tuesday morning; Talent To Spare on the back row in 13, while Kissesforyamisses boosted her chances with a favourable draw in four.
While the barrier draws will be key come Saturday night, it is another factor that has driven Dawson’s motivation for the last year.
The impressive Talent To Spare broke from her gait just as they were about to jump in the Group 1 2YO edition of the race last year, leaving Dawson and owners Kevin and Kay Seymour devastated.
While the Seymours were disappointed to see one of their up-and-coming pacers miss out a feature race opportunity, they were still supportive of the trainer-driver, Dawson, and he is keen to repay them this week.
“They have been fantastic to me personally allowing me to train this horse, they have been some of my biggest supporters,” Dawson said of the Seymours.
“Last year things did not go right and we were all upset about that, they are great people and great supporters of me and the entire harness racing industry.
“I feel like I am trying to repay the faith in them after what happened last year with Talent To Spare in the TRIAD.
“I was shattered and they helped me get over it, it will be nice to repay their faith.”
Dawson has qualified two for the fillies Final, both of which are out of sire Hurrikane Kingcole.
Talent To Spare is owned by the Seymours while Kissesforyamisses is owned by Dawson’s wife Crystal Towns.
While Talent To Spare - who has five wins from 11 starts to her name - had to endure an “ugly draw” on Tuesday, Dawson is not giving up hope on his three-year-old just yet, declaring he still has confidence in both his chances.
"She got murdered in that, if she had drawn well it would have been nearly shut the gate but it will be very tough from there,” he says.
“She will have to be very good and she will have to get a lot of luck.
“My other filly, she faired well, that is a positive draw for her and she has a whole lot of options now.
“She can lead as she has good gate speed.
“There is not too much between them now following the barriers and Kissesforyamisses gets the chance to spring an upset.”
In all of Talent To Spare’s wins, she has either led or been just behind the leader, with Dawson keen to eventually show she is not a one-dimensional pacer and can be just as effective off the speed as well.
As a trainer, Dawson has been Group 1 placed over the years, but he is yet to break through on the biggest stage of racing.
He hopes that will change come Saturday evening.
“It would be an exclamation mark, they only come around once a year,” he said.
“It is a whole different ball game winning a race like this.
“If we were to win, it would not change me or anything I do, but it would just give me the confidence to show we can win races like this.
“It would be good to keep doing it after this, if we can.”
There will also be a QBRED TRIAD 3YO Colts and Geldings Group 1 (2138m) on Saturday evening at Albion Park.