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Orange appeal could prove fruitful

Hobby trainer Mike Van Gestel hopes Charlie Chap’s impressive showing at Orange means he will handle a step up in class when he runs at Randwick.

The gelding went close to lowering the course record for his age group when he won an open handicap (1000m) at his last start on April 7, a performance that encouraged Van Gestel ahead of Saturday’s two-year-old handicap (1100m).

“He ran six one hundredths outside the outside the course record (56.79 seconds) after drawing wide and getting bumped in the straight,” Van Gestel said.

“It must mean something. To me it means he can gallop a bit.”

Charlie Chap clocked 56.85sec to record his maiden win, suggesting could eclipse the exploits of Van Gestel’s first horse to carry that name.

The original Charlie Chap only ran once for Van Gestel before notching four wins for other trainers between 2002-06.

“He’s a bit better I think. This guy’s quite promising,” Van Gestel said.

He hopes Charlie Chap can recover sufficiently after Saturday to run in the Hawkesbury Rush (1100m) on his home track a week later.

“It might be a bit quick for him as a two-year-old but it’s the local course, it’s a $125,000 race,” Van Gestel said.

“We want to see what level he’s up to.”

Charlie Chap will be ridden by Jeff Penza with his trainer’s only concern barrier two.

“I wish we’ had drawn on the outside,” he said. He needs some room this guy.”

The father of Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel, the Belgium-born horseman only has two horses in work while the durable Casino Dancer has been his stand-out.

The six-year-old mare racked up 61 starts before being retired last June having amassed $529,000 prize money.

Currently in foal, Casino Dancer will among the lots at the Magic Millions Broodmare sale on the Gold Coast from May 30 to June 2.

Van Gestel almost parted ways with Casino Dancer last year but a $450,000 bid in Sydney was $50,000 short of his reserve.

“We’ll take her up there and see how much she brings,” he said, adding he’d also be happy to take her back home to Hawkesbury.

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