Matt Dale is aiming for his third Wagga Town Plate in a row with Meticulously. Photo: Graham TidyCanberra trainer Matthew Dale will be shooting for his third-successive $100,000 Gold Town Plate (1200m) at Wagga on Thursday when he saddles up Meticulously.

Dale won the 2013 and 2014 Plates with Unanimously, ridden by Glyn Schofield and Blake Shinn respectively.

He is the first to admit Meticulously, a four-year-old by Not A Single Doubt, the same sire as Unanimously, does not quite have the same ability as his dual-winner. But he goes into the event on the first day of the two-day Wagga Gold Cup carnival as a “definite live chance”.

“I’ve got a sound, fit horse with a good chance,” Dale said. “He’ll have to be right at the top of his game to win but he’s fit and healthy and has a liking for the Wagga circuit. Hopefully he can use that to be right in the thick of things.”

Meticulously goes into the feature sprint first-up from a 128-day spell.

“Since bringing him back this campaign I’ve had the Town Plate in mind,” Dale said. “He’s done very well.

“I’ve given him two 800m jump-outs and he did what he had to do. He’s come through them well and his work’s been good.”

Meticulously scored first-up last preparation over 1200m at Canberra in a benchmark 70 handicap on October 24 last year carrying 59kg.

“He’s had a very similar lead-in this time,” Dale said. “I’m as happy with the horse as I was before he won in Canberra with a big weight, albeit in an easier race.

“He had a viral setback mid-preparation last campaign which he never fully recovered from but everything has been good this time around.

“Thursday represents a step-up in class but he gets in with a nice weight (54kg) and has drawn a decent barrier (eight).

“Brenton (Avdulla) has won on him at Canterbury and he should suit the horse.”

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