Racing: Offers, but win the priority

Brett Cusdin's phone has been ringing off the hook, but he is not quite ready to part with Franco Nattai. Cusdin (30), of Christchurch, has the Courage Under Fire gelding all set for Motukarara tomorrow after the 4yr-old produced a eye-catching run for second at Addington on January 18.

The offers have been flooding in for the well-bred Franco Nattai, but Cusdin has an important milestone to reach before he contemplates parting with the pacer - his first training win.

''I've had quite a few people ringing up wanting to buy him. Everyone's been pretty keen on him,'' Cusdin said.

''I've said I'm not selling him until I do that [win] and then we'll just go from there.''

Cusdin works Franco Nattai during his lunch break at his regular job as a stable hand at Mark Purdon's All Stars Stables in Rolleston and he has soaked up as much knowledge as he can from Purdon.

''He's been the best to learn off,'' Cusdin said. He found the trail easily with Franco Nattai at Addington last week but his hopes of his first training success unravelled when leader Ima Jaymar compounded badly, dragging Franco Nattai back behind him. Once Cusdin got Franco Nattai out into clear air, he was half a second quicker than the last 400m of 29sec set off the front.

His searing sprint has not dulled the horse this week.

''He looks fantastic at the moment,'' Cusdin said.

''He's just a lovely horse to work with. He's nice and quiet and easy to drive.

''I've seen the amount of horses at Mark's and I know how hard nice horses are to come by, so it's been a bit of a hard decision thinking about it [selling him].''

The main danger to Franco Nattai in the $7500 1-win mobile pace is likely to come from Itsa Seelster who is looking for his third straight win, and The Brigadier, who has won twice from three starts.

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