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Racketeer carrying Esplin family’s belief

A strong belief in Thelittleracketeer’s bloodlines landed her back with the Esplin family, two years after they sold her to Victorian trainer Peter Moody.

The family bred Thelittleracketeer and her stakes-winning half-brother Office Bearer who was trained by Moody and then Jason Coyle before being retired to stud.

Canberra trainer Matthew Dale said the Esplins sold Thelittleracketeer to Moody as a yearling before buying her back at a tried horse sale.

“They’re big believers of the family,” Dale said.

“They were keen to get her back into their system and give her another go.”

She has thrived since arriving with Dale, putting together three wins from four starts including a convincing Highway Handicap (1100m) victory at Rosehill on November 19.

“She was a mare carrying the top weight and she was quite dominant there,” Dale said.

While she is set for just her 10th race in Saturday’s Sprint (1200m) at Rosehill, the five-year-old mare has been around long enough to be ridden competitively by retired jockeys Jimmy Cassidy and Dale Smith.

“She won a city maiden at her first start as a two-year-old but even after that she showed glimpses of city form and then lost her way a little bit,” Dale said.

“Since we’ve had her she’s had four starts for three wins and got her confidence back which is what I think she was lacking.”

Dale admits barrier 12 presents a challenge as she steps up in grade but he is looking forward to seeing where she fits in the scheme of metropolitan racing.

Thelittleracketeer gave Dale his fifth Highway win which was the equal top score in the races for country-trained horses until Murwillumbah’s Matthew Dunn racked up his sixth last Saturday.

Dale has two chances to get back on level terms with Falco and Backless in the 1400m handicap.

Backless gets into the race with 51kgs after apprentice James Innes’ claim.

The three-year-old filly will be having her second start after sitting wide and winning an open age fillies and mares’ maiden at Wagga Wagga on November 21.

Dale says the extra distance will suit her while Falco, to carry 58kg after Nick Heywood’s allowance, will be wearing blinkers for the first time.

“They have chalk and cheese profiles but both are genuine chances,” Dale said.

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