Barrier luck turns for Comfort Me in Damien Oliver Gold Rush

Can ultra consistent Perth seven-year-old Comfort Me win the Damien Oliver Gold Rush (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday?

After finally drawing a favourable barrier, trainer,Rhys Radford, believes the gelding now has a fighting chance.

The understated Radford almost did a little jig and gave a fist pump when he drew barrier three for Comfort Me.

Positive gates in recent big races have not been totally kind to Comfort Me and a change of luck was welcomed.

Two weeks ago, in the G1 Railway Stakes, Comfort Me started from barrier 15 and ran seventh to Bustler, beaten three lengths.

Remarkably it was the third straight year that Comfort Me had to overcome and negotiate barrier 15 in the Railway Stakes.

Understandably Radford was a little nervous before the barrier draw, but walked away from Tuesday’s function upbeat.

The Group 1 winning trainer is confident everything is in place for Comfort Me’s tilt at the Group 3 Damien Oliver Gold Rush.

“It’s been a long time coming, I suppose,” Radford said to The Races WA.

“If you go back through his whole record he’s been hampered by bad barriers.

“Hopefully we get the favours in running and he’s right in it on Saturday.

“He has a heart as big as himself and hopefully he can stick his head out in one of these races.”

Radford said Comfort Me has bounced out of the Railway Stakes in great shape.

It followed two top Group 3 thirds to kick off his Pinnacles campaign in the Eurythmic Stakes (1400m) and Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) respectively.

“He pulled up really well,” Radford said.

“The week after the Railway was light and his work since has been good.

“That’s what he does do, pull up from his runs really good.

“He tries hard in everything he does, maybe even to his downfall, I suppose.

“Getting him to settle at home, even in slow work is the trick.

“So, he doesn’t do a great deal compared to most.”

In the past two years jockey Peter Knuckey and Comfort Me have been near constant companions.

Knuckey has partnered Comfort Me to six stakes placings including two Railway Stakes seconds and a third in last year’s first running of the Gold Rush.

With Knuckey opting to stick with Baby Paris in the Gold Rush after her Jungle Dawn victory, Radford has turned to Shaun Mcgruddy to ride Comfort Me for the first occasion.

“In fairness to Pete (Knuckey) you can’t jump off a last start winner,” Radford said.

“And the last time he did stick with Comfort Me Baby Paris beat him.

“I can understand Pete’s choice, but Shaun is a very good race rider.

“He’s got the right barrier, so let’s go.”

Comfort Me is $14 with Tabtouch after as much as $31 was available prior to the barrier draw.

Second emergency Super Smink and interstate raider Ayrton share $6 favouritism.

Comfort Me, a son of Playing God, has yet to record a feature win in 34 career starts but has amassed just over $1 million in stake earnings.

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