Rodney Notham confident Big Money can defy 59.5kg impost in Lough Neagh Stakes at Doomben
BIG Money will have to achieve what Chief De Beers twice failed to do if he is to take the second leg of the summer sprint crown at Doomben on Saturday.
Racing Queensland handicapper Nathan Bourke said Big Money was likely to receive 59.5kg for Saturday’s Lough Neagh Stakes, a rise of 2kg on his George Moore Stakes win.
Trainer Rodney Northam is committed to a start, despite the hefty challenge.
“It’s not great, but he probably deserves it,” Northam said.
Doomben champ Chief De Beers won the Lough Neagh (then known as the Doomben Stakes) twice, in 1994 and 1996.
In those wins he carried 52kg and 58kg respectively, when ridden by Alan Russell.
He returned in 1997 and 1998, when asked to carry 59.5kg, both times under Mick Dittman. He ran eighth to Harvey Lad in 1997 and then second to Blue Pill in 1998.
The modern benchmark for the race is Takeover Target, who carried 60.5kg when strolling home in 2005, before he went to Melbourne and took the Lightning-Newmarket double.
Northam is keen to test Big Money over the Doomben 1350m with an eye on next year’s Doomben 10,000 and in particular the Stradbroke, which will be run at the course.
George Moore runner-up Someday is likely to go to 57kg, while third-placed Cape Kidnappers would remain on his current mark of 58kg.
Bourke said those weights are on the assumption a higher-rated horse than Big Money isn’t nominated for the race.
“From those in the George Moore, he’s now the highest rated of them,” Bourke said.
Last year’s Lough Neagh winner Love Rocks is being readied to transfer to Peter Morgan’s stable in Victoria.
Owner-trainer Steve Tregea believes the opposite way of racing may help Love Rocks and his troublesome legs.
“Really, we have been lucky to get as far as we have with him,” Tregea said.
“I just felt we would try something different. He gets arthritis and here in Queensland it’s on his inside leg.
“It may help going the opposite way and Peter’s got a water walker which will help him.”
Tregea said Love Rocks needed minor arthroscopic surgery before heading south, where he has no specific plans for the sprinter.
Tregea has two half-brothers to Love Rocks at his Windemere Stud.
He will train the Drumbeats yearling colt, while a Not A Single Doubt colt born in October will likely be prepared for the yearling sales.
“Ironically, both of them have straight legs,” Tregea said.
The owner has been frustrated by the decision of Queensland handicappers to leave Love Rocks at his current rating of 100, despite two below par efforts in his most recent runs.