One more trip to The Valley for Raetihi in 2023

Cramming in two runs in eight days before the end of the year had not always been Emma-Lee Browne’s plan with Raetihi, but the venue for Victoria’s final metro meeting of 2023 prompted her to roll the dice.

The in-form four-year-old is backing up in Saturday’s $80,000 Ladbrokes Racing Club BM70 Handicap (1600m) at The Valley, having won a 1600-metre benchmark 64 at the same venue last Saturday.

That gritty win made it back-to-back 1600m wins at The Valley after a Friday night win on December 8 and Browne said there was no reason to not give the gelding another go at his favourite course.

“He’s obviously enjoyed his runs there, so we thought why not?” Browne, who trains with husband David, said.

“He’s bounced through last week super, I couldn’t be happier with him, he’s still full of beans and he just keeps doing quite well so we thought we may as well make the most of it.

“It’s obviously a tougher field, but I think it’s a better draw than he had last time, so the race should suit.”

Raetihi has the inside alley for what will be the 11th start of a campaign, which began on August 20, and hasn’t seen the son of Savabeel finish outside the top four.

Browne said the move from Cranbourne to Pakenham midway through the year has helped Raetihi immensely.

“The horses are enjoying Pakenham with a bit of variety, especially a hot horse like himself, and just having a bit more space to get out and work has definitely been a key to him,” she said.

“He’ll tell us when he’s had enough, but as long as he keeps going forward we’ll just take each race as it comes.

“This preparation has been a nice reward for owners who had been patient with him early days.”

Raetihi is one of two runners for the Brownes at The Valley with Rhinoceros to have his first start since a forgettable trip north for the Wodonga Cup on November 24.

He started odds-on favourite in that 1590m event but was brought undone by a deteriorating wet track and Browne said she had just tried to put the experience out of her mind.

“Everything that could go wrong did go wrong at Wodonga,” she said.

“We gave him two weeks in the paddock and said, ‘we’ll just forget about it’, and he’s come back in great order. He’s bouncing around full of himself.”

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