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.
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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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