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Osborn hopes for end to Inter City hoodoo

KITCHENER trainer Michael Osborn knows Exterminatewill need plenty of luck to win from the second row against a class field in the group 3 Inter City Pace Final (2422 metres) at Maitland Showground on Saturday night.
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KILLER TEAM: Michael Osborn, right, and partner Debbie Latter with Exterminate at their Kitchener property on Friday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

But the Osborns aredue for some luck in the race.

Exterminatewon heat two on Sunday at Maitlandby12.1 metres in a mile rate of2:04.0, which was the second fastest victory of the five qualifying races.

However, the four-year-old gelding’s status as a C5 class pacer meant he was destined to draw poorly under the conditions of the race. Exterminate, with Morisset’sMark Callaghan in the gig, will begin four wide on the second line with favourites My Chachingchaching and Kept Under Wraps off the front.

Kept Under Wraps was the fastest winner last Sunday, clocking2:03.4for Sydney couple Belinda and Luke McCarthy, who are going for back-to-back titles after All Eyes On Us wonlast year.My Chachingchaching, for Keinbah trainer Shane Tritton, was equally impressive in the heats.Exterminate was $12 with the NSW TAB on Friday, whileKept Under Wraps ($2) andMyChachingchaching ($2.80) topped the market.

Despite Exterminate’s commanding heat win, Osborn said his pacer faced a tough task in the final.

“He’s ate up well since Sunday, he’s pulled up good and looks good,he’s just going to need a lot of luck from there,” Osborn said.

“We need the pace on. If one gets in front and they walk, we’re no hope.”

Luck is something that has evaded the famous Osborn name in the race, which will be run for the 53rdtime. Michael’s late father, legendary trainer-driverDick Osborn, won 17 training and 15 driving premierships in the Hunter but never saluted in the Inter City Pace.

“I had six drives inInterCityPacefinals for four falls,” Dick told the Herald in 2003.

Michael has also lamented his luck in the race, which will this year feature his nephew, Josh Osborn, driving the Rex Spencer-trained Rambo Mick.

“I drove a horse for Noel Mexon called Forest Lobell in’95,” Michael said Friday.

“But the horse who won the first heat, Michael Augustine, the trainer came up and asked me to drive it in the final, but I said I had to drive one for Noel, who I drove for all the time.

“I said if it makes the final, I’ll have to drive for him. Forest Lobell won his heat thenI got knocked down in the first 50 metres in the final [and finished sixth], and Michael Augustine won.

“Dad had no luck in it as well. I sawhim get tipped out three times in the three drives I remember him having in it.My brother-in-law, Graham Jennings, won with General Fox [in 1994], but that’s ouronly win in it.

“Josh has got a drive in it this year, so hopefully one of us can do it.”

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