Canberra back on top of the Highway
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Canberra back on top of the Highway

It's not just Canberra who are the winners from their return to the Highway Handicaps, but racing as a whole.

Training partnership Keith Dryden and Scott Collings became the first Canberrans to win the Highway Handicap since ACT trainers were readmitted to the lucrative series last weekend.

Their three-year-old gelding Handle The Truth won by a long head from Terry Robinson's Risk And Reward, with Ethanicity third in the class 3, 1200-metre race at Rosehill on Saturday.

Keith Dryden and Scott Collings' Handle The Truth is Canberra's first win since being readmitted to the Highway Handicaps.

Keith Dryden and Scott Collings' Handle The Truth is Canberra's first win since being readmitted to the Highway Handicaps.

Photo: AAP Image/Simon Bullard

Jockey Jay Ford positioned Handle The Truth perfectly just behind the leaders, with the son of Star Witness proving the strongest in the sprint home.

Racing NSW banned Canberra trainers from the Highway series late last year because country NSW trainers complained about their dominance.

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But it was overturned after Nick Olive, Matthew Dale and Paul Joseph drove to Sydney and convinced Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'Landys to backflip on the ban.

Dryden said the racing industry as a whole had won as a result.

"It's nice to be back in the Highways because most of that horse is owned by NSW people. It was a good result for them," he said.

"The good thing about it is I heard them say it was heavily backed. Obviously that helps increase the turnover on the Highways.

"I believe it had been falling away a bit with the dominance of the other two blokes. That's a good point for it - we're back in it, make it more competitive for everybody.

"I think all round it's a pretty good decision."

Dryden will see how his gelding pulls up before deciding where to next, having originally set him to run either this weekend or next.

But he felt another trip up the Hume Highway for another Handicap could be on the cards.

Jockey Jay Ford is happy after guiding Handle The Truth to victory.

Jockey Jay Ford is happy after guiding Handle The Truth to victory.

Photo: AAP Image/Simon Bullard

Handle The Truth has had a strong start to his career, winning three of five starts, with a second as well.

The only time he's missed out on a place was in the group 3 Black Opal Stakes on Canberra's Super Sunday in March.

Dryden didn't think a return to Black Opal Day for the listed Canberra Guineas next year was very likely though.

"I'll have a look at him when he gets home and we'll poke around with him for a couple of weeks and then decide what we're going to do with him," Dryden said.

"He won't back up next week. I'll give him a couple of weeks to get over it. Probably head back to another Highway if there's a suitable one."

David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.