Olympic flavour at Canterbury races

SYDNEY Aug 16 2016

A midweek race meeting in Sydney would seem an unlikely place for Bruce McAvaney and an Olympic sport to feature.

But the leading broadcaster and the sport in which Australia won a bronze medal in Rio last week have ties to Canterbury on Wednesday.

Bring A Secret's trainer Nick Olive has tapped into equestrian disciplines to improve the horse's focus ahead of the Hyland Race Colours Handicap (1250m).

The gelding was sent to a dressage centre where he did flat work and jumping after returning from the spelling paddock.

"He's always been a bit of a challenge mentally," Olive said.

"It seems to have really got his mind in a better place."

Olive is hopeful the horse's strong training performances since returning to full-time work translate to a result reflective of the horse's talent.

Bring A Secret was placed in the Listed Phoenix (1350m) at Doomben as a two-year-old.

He won two country races in summer but failed to perform when the bar was raised.

"We've done things a bit differently this preparation," Olive said.

"I don't know if he can win or not but I'm expecting he'll run a nice race on Wednesday."

Kathy O'Hara will ride Bring A Secret, only the second time she has ridden for the trainer since returning from injuries suffered in a fall in the Australian Oaks on the Olive-trained Single Gaze.

The gelding will go up against Embley, who is part-owned by Australia's most high-profile Olympic commentator McAvaney.

Embley was scratched from races at Canterbury and Gosford last week to avoid wet tracks.

With Canterbury in the soft range on Tuesday and sunny conditions forecast in Sydney, Embley looks set to get a crack at a maiden city win.

McAvaney called one of the most famous sprint races in history on Monday when legendary Jamaican Usain Bolt won his third 100m gold medal in Rio.

Two days later, he'll be hoping Embley can score a relatively un-noticed sprint victory in Sydney's inner-west.

Matt Coughlan - AAP

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