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Searle hopeful of returning to home track

Local trainer Nichole Searle is determined to get trackside when metropolitan racing returns to Gawler on Saturday.

Searle, who trains in partnership with husband Gary and daughter Brianna (Callanan), spent last weekend in hospital in Port Lincoln after a float incident left her with a badly broken foot.

“Nichole came over here (Port Lincoln) with a stack of feed,’’ Gary Searle said.

“We were lowering the float on to the toe ball to move it into the shed, the jockey wheel gave way and with so much weight up the front it pushed it sideways, and the A-frame came down her foot.

“I don’t know how I did it, there must have been two and half tonne of weight up front, but I managed to lift it off her foot. They say you can do some amazing things when the adrenalin hits and that was one of them.

“Michael McLean and a mate of his tried to lift the float up later that afternoon and couldn’t budge it,’’ he said.

To make the injury worse is the fact it comes just 10 weeks after knee surgery.

“She’s starting to get bored already and she tells me she’ll be going to races on Saturday in a wheelchair,’’ Searle said.

“The added problem is her knee reconstruction was on the other leg, she can’t bear weight on that leg, or now her leg with a broken foot, so makes it a tricky situation.

“The doctors were happy there is no tendon or ligament damage, they didn’t have to pin her toes but there is a big wound on her foot and keeping the infection out is going to be crucial,’’ he said.

The Searle/Callanan team saddle up four runners at Gawler, led by Secret War who has only finished outside the top four once in his 10 starts.

Secret War is drawn perfectly, gets the help of a three-kilogram claim for apprentice Ellis Wong and Searle is confident the horse can build on an imposing record on his home track having won three of five starts with two minor placings.

“He’s carried close that weight before and over the short course on his home track, I’m not too worried,’’ Searle said.

“You can’t ride him any different than on speed, so however the track is playing won’t hold any fears for him,’’ he said.

The stable made a crucial gear change with a pair of maidens – Funofthefair and Lentino - early in the day.

“Funofthefair is going to be a nice horse I think,’’ Searle said.

“She trialled OK at Strathalbyn, she got a little lost, so we’ve thrown the shades on she’s worked well since.

“And same thing with Lentino, her last start at Balaklava she looked like being in the finish but lost her rudder. She’s improved in her two gallops with the shades on and she’s always shown ability,’’ he said.

Golden Ripples caught the eye at Oakbank last time out and Searle said was capable of being in the finish.

“Hopefully there will be some pace in the race, she’s trained on well since Oakbank, it’s not a strong field and she can run a credible race,’’ he said.

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