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Take Pride looking for rise in distance

One trainer happy to see racing back at Seymour is Murray Johnson, although he won’t be there for the return meeting.

Seymour hosts it’s first meeting on Saturday, 13 months after undergoing a renovation following last year’s Cup, but Johnson will be 200km away, saddling Take Pride in the Isuzu Handicap at Ballarat.

Johnson trains at Seymour and finally has the mare in peak condition for the 1400 metres after three runs from a spell.

“A part of her preparation was quite difficult because we had no grass gallops or no jump-outs,” Johnson said.

“It was hard to get the right sort of work into her and we were a bit behind the eight-ball.

“She’s done really well since her last race and she’s probably a little late in coming to her best, but coat-wise, she looks fantastic.”

Johnson had Take Pride entered in the Group One Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot but believes the mare is looking for more ground after finishing well back in a run that disappointed the trainer at Flemington on October 29.

At her only start beyond 1200m, Take Pride ran fifth to Stay With Me in the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield last year.

“I feel I made a bit of an error as I thought she was better at sprinting,” Johnson said.

“But going back to the Thousand Guineas we think she might be wanting to stretch out and that’s what we’re doing on Saturday.”

Johnson has seven horses in work and lives opposite the Seymour course where he walks his dogs daily and says the track will be a great asset for Victorian racing.

“They’ve done a tremendous job,” Johnson said.

“It’s an immature track so it won’t take abuse, but with maturity and as long as they don’t hammer it too hard, it should be a great course for the future.”

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