Co-trainer Todd Harvey is confident Finally French will shed his tag as the Tom Melbourne of WA when he tackles the $100,000 Regional Championship Final (1200m) at Ascot.
Tom Melbourne has developed a cult following for his streak of second placings on the east coast of Australia.
Finally French has followed a similar path, notching six straight seconds after winning at York on debut in April.
“His stable name is actually Thomas,” Harvey said.
“It’s been a bit frustrating, but in saying that he’s only been beaten small margins and he’s not doing anything wrong.”
Finally French’s latest second placing earned him a start in the Regional Championship Final.
Second-up from a spell, the Oratorio gelding was beaten a nose by Fine Scent in a series heat at Northam.
Harvey, who trains in partnership with his father Robert, said Finally French was primed for today’s race. “Third-up he should be somewhere near his peak,” he said.
“He looks well placed. I think Troy (Turner) will go forward and try slot in somewhere, but that will be up to him. Hopefully he can win.”
Finally French will jump from gate nine if the emergencies don’t gain runs. He is the $4.60 favourite with TABtouch.
Geraldton trainer Sarah Childs said a wide draw would hurt her chances with Akiko, an impressive heat winner at her home track last start.
Akiko, who stormed home to win by 1 1/4 lengths at Geraldton, will jump from barrier 12 if the emergencies don’t gain runs.
“If she drew a barrier I’d be extremely confident,” Childs said. “It’s a big blow. Chris Parnham knows her now so I trust him to ride her the best he can.
“I can’t fault her this prep.
“She hasn’t run a bad race and she can take a sit instead of going handlebars-down now.”
A winner at six of starts, Akiko must also overcome the 59.5kg topweight today. She is rated a $10 chance.
The top three horses in heats at Northam, Bunbury, Geraldton, Albany and Esperance qualify for the final. The three highest-rated horses from the Esperance heat were included in the final when that heat was abandoned. It was transferred to Narrogin six days later but attracted only three acceptors.