LUKE Tarrant led his apprentice peers on another romp for the juniors at Doomben as he extended his early premiership lead on Saturday.
Apprentices won five of the eight races, with Tarrant responsible for three of them, including the final event on Epic.
The Rising Star winner said he is aware of the extra attention that comes with being a premiership frontrunner.
“I guess I feel the pressure a bit more because if I do ride one bad now there will be more of a commotion than there would have been previously,” he said.
“But I don’t think I’m doing anything differently. I haven’t slaughtered one for a while and I’m just concentrating on doing the things that have worked for me so far.”
Epic’s trainer Kelly Schweida is unashamedly on the Tarrant bandwagon.
“He’s got a good head on his shoulders, listens and I’m a big rap for him,” Schweida said.
Toby Edmonds’ day didn’t pan out as expected, but he still walked away a winner.
Our Boy Nicholas never gave those that took the $1.65 a sight at any stage, but Scarborough later atoned for the stable in the Quest Breakfast Creek Handicap.
“(Our Boy Nicholas pulled up good. It’s back to the drawing board I guess,” Edmonds said.
Scarborough was given a perfect ride by apprentice Matthew McGuren.
Mounting yard observers felt the son of Snitzel looked to be carrying some excess condition, but Edmonds said it was always the case.
“He looks underdone all the time, but he’s tough and likes racing at the mile.”
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/luke-tarrant-leads-the-way-with-doomben-treble-as-apprentices-have-field-day/story-fnii0mrv-1227057706783
Looks Like The Cat ready for Melbourne debut
Smart galloper Brisbane galloper Looks Like The Cat will race in blinkers for the first time when he takes on the cream of Melbourne’s three-year-olds in the Danehill Stakes on Saturday.
Looks Like The Cat will head a strong team for premier Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan who is planning a major assault on the Melbourne spring carnival.
Gollan has long held the belief Looks Like The Cat is one of the best three-year-olds in Australia and encouraged connections to knock back a mammoth offer from Hong Kong.
His opinion was proven correct during the Brisbane winter when Looks Like The Cat was placed in the Group One JJ Atkins Stakes and the Group Two BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes.
“Looks Like The Cat has done well in his break and travelled well to Melbourne,” Gollan said.
“But we have been thinking for a long while that he will be a blinkers horse.”
Gollan said his three-year-old fillies Pienkna and Traveston Girl were starting to settle in after being a bit lost after arriving in new surrounds.
“You would expect them to find it strange being away from home but they worked at Flemington on Tuesday and seem to be settling in a lot better,” he said.
Gollan said there were no such worries with old-timer Temple of Boom, who will contest the Bobbie Lewis Stakes on Saturday.
“I put Temple on the plane on Wednesday morning and he was just an old gentleman. One of the boys quipped he could have flown the plane he had done it so often,” Gollan said.
Gollan will use jockeys Tegan Harrison and Damian Browne during the carnival.
“Tegan has show she is a top-class jockey in Brisbane and Damian doesn’t need any introduction. He is one of the best Group One jockeys in Australia,” Gollan said.
Harrison keen to start spring with a Boom
Brisbane rider Tegan Harrison will seek help from the very best in her profession before she tackles the Flemington straight-six course for the first time on Saturday.
Harrison will make her maiden Melbourne appearance as a senior jockey although she has had four rides at Moonee Valley as an apprentice.
The 23-year-old will have two rides for top Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan, Temple Of Boom in the Group Three Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Pienkna in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m).
Harrison has been doing her homework for the Melbourne trip which she admits has her very excited.
“I have never ridden at Flemington but I have been there to have a look. I will be walking the track on Saturday morning to get a feel for it,” Harrison said.
“I plan to ask some of the experienced Melbourne jockeys about the way to ride the straight six.
“Everyone tells me the best (jockey) to seek advice from is Damien Oliver so I will be asking his opinion.”
Harrison believes Temple Of Boom gives her a great chance to make her mark at Flemington.
The pair enjoyed a successful winter when they combined to win the Group Two Victory Stakes and were placed in the Group One Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap.
“He is such an honest horse and always tries. He is used to travelling and apparently he has gone well down there,” Harrison said.
“Pienkna is in her first preparation but she has been very strong in her two wins in Brisbane.
“I am really looking forward to the day as it is every jockey’s dream to ride at Flemington.”
Harrison, one of the best talents to come out of Queensland in the past decade, has ridden 274 winners and recently claimed the Queensland Apprentice of the Year
Story courtesy http://www.racingfans.com.au
RACING Queensland is set to revolutionise its winter carnival next year by shaving five weeks of the state’s showcase racing event.
In a bid to “create a more compelling racing product’’, the Queensland winter carnival will be cut from 14 to nine weeks next year if the state’s major racing clubs accept an RQ proposal.
The winter carnival officially started on April 12 this year at Toowoomba and finished at Eagle Farm on July 12 with a meeting that featured one Listed race.
The constant criticism of the carnival is it’s too long and RQ has listened. If its plan is agreed upon the winter carnival will run from April 25 to June 20 next year, trimming two low-key meetings at both the start and end of the carnival.
It is also proposed to remove the Doomben Cup day meeting from the calendar.
The Gold Coast Turf Club is set to pick up the $175,000 Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m), delivering the local club with a much-needed weight-for-age sprint that may attract some of Australia’s best sprinters.
RQ has sent out two proposals to the state’s major racing clubs detailing possible changes to next year’s carnival.
Major changes tabled in “Proposal 1’’ include:
■ The Queensland winter carnival to be reduced from 14 to nine weeks.
■ BTC Cup day at Doomben to officially start the carnival on April 25.
■ Doomben Cup day, held on May 17 this year, to be removed from the calendar. The Group 1 Doomben Cup to be run on the same day as the Group 1 BTC Cup on April 25, while other stakes races from the lost day will be spread out over the carnival.
■ The Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) to move from late June to Queensland Oaks day on May 30. However, the Tattersall’s Racing Club will fight to keep this race on its own race day on June 20.
■ The Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) to move from Eagle Farm to the Gold Coast.
■ Toowoomba’s feature meeting, Weetwood Handicap day, to move from early April to the second meeting of the winter carnival on May 2. The day meeting is set to include the Toowoomba Cup, which has been held in June in the past two years.
■ Sunshine Coast’s feature meeting, Caloundra Cup day, to move from late June to May 16, the fourth meeting of the carnival.
It means the Gold Coast’s sole winter carnival meeting is likely to either move forward or back one week from its current timeslot.
The Toowoomba club is set to be the big winner if either proposal is accepted.
Unlike in recent years, the Weetwood Handicap day will now become an integral part of the winter carnival.
“That was the point of going back to the grass track so we can become part of the winter carnival properly,” Toowoomba Turf Club chairman Bob Frappell said, referring to the switch to turf from a cushion surface last season.
“We’re not sure which proposal they will accept but any of them will be a much better position than where we are.”
The Brisbane Racing Club would be the big loser, with Doomben Cup day and Victory Stakes day axed. The proposed changes are yet to approved by the RQ board.
Story courtesy firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/sport/gold-coast-turf-club-wins-in-racing-queensland-proposal-to-cut-winter-carnival-from-14-weeks-to-nine/story-fnj94ixl-1227051951637
NOEL Doyle hopes to pick up where he left off in Melbourne this spring, despite a dozen years having passed since his last visit.
Doyle hasn’t taken a horse south since Palidamah won at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day in 2002.
That will change in the coming weeks after his tough filly Aimee ($4.60) added a fifth career win when making her seasonal debut at Doomben on Saturday.
Doyle is eyeing the Thousand Guineas, but isn’t certain whether her next lead up will be in Brisbane or south of the border.
“I’m very satisfied with what I saw,” Doyle said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been down to Melbourne, so it’s exciting to be lining up another trip.”
While Aimee got the breaks up near the rails, the race was a very messy affair with a number of hardluck stories.
Runner-up Lucky Tom ($4.80) was stuck wide facing the breeze throughout and his trainer Harold Norman confirmed a Melbourne trip is still firmly on the agenda.
Debutant Rockleigh ($41) turned in a real eye-catcher, charging at the line late for third. Upstart Pride ($4.20 favourite) found himself in a bumping duel, while Melanya kept coming despite a wide trip.
Combatant finished closer to the tail of the field than the front, but may well have tested the winner with clear running.
Teronado reels off impressive late figures
BRUCE Hill wasn’t surprised by the sectional and Chris Munce said he was entitled to run that time given the “ridiculous” tempo, but both ticked off on a southern trip for Teronado.
With a walking tempo, Teronado circled the field and clocked home in an official final 600m sectional of 32.99 seconds.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Hill said. “He does that every day of the week. You think he’s not going very fast in his work and then you look at the clock and just shake your head.”
Hill said he has a multitude of options in Melbourne and hasn’t set a program in stone yet.
Munce feels Teronado will be a worthy Melbourne combatant, although he acknowledged it gets much tougher now.
“It was a ridiculous tempo because they trotted for the first 1300m, so they can run those type of sectionals when they do nothing early,” Munce said.
“But he will be competitive down there (Melbourne). He’s a different horse with blinkers on now. He’s more genuine and switched on.”
Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/trainer-noel-doyle-has-thousand-guineas-on-radar-for-tough-filly-aimee/story-fnii0mrv-1227050141455
TONY Gollan is upbeat he has the firepower necessary to strike some major blows in the next two months but will know for sure when all five of his spring contenders resume at Flemington on Saturday.
Stradbroke runner-up Temple Of Boom and Alma’s Fury will both return in the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m), Looks Like The Cat will line up in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) and fillies Traveston Girl and Pienkna will battle it out in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m).
Brisbane trainer Gollan knows what to expect from his Group 1 winner Temple Of Boom but is more excited about seeing how the next generation — Pienkna, Looks Like The Cat and Traveston Girl — handle the pressure-cooker environment of the spring carnival.
“It’s a pretty exciting time particularly with the younger horses,” Gollan said.
“I feel I’ve got the right horses to take away and I wouldn’t take them away willy-nilly.”
Gollan has big aims for all five horses this spring.
Temple Of Boom (Manikato Stakes/ Darley Classic) and Alma’s Fury (Sir Rupert Clarke/Toorak Handicap) will go their separate ways, while three-year-olds Pienkna (Blue Sapphire), Looks Like The Cat (Caulfield Guineas) and Traveston Girl (Thousand Guineas) all have different goals as well.
And while six-year-old Alma’s Fury has failed to shape up to Group 1 racing in the past, Gollan is genuinely excited by his spring prospects.
“It’s his second prep with me now and I feel I’ve got a far better understanding of him now,” Gollan said.
“He is going really well and whether he measures up to Group 1 level in the handicaps I’m not sure but his two wins back-to-back in the winter have given this horse a huge confidence boost.”
As for Temple Of Boom, Gollan feels he could be vulnerable first-up but his love affair with the Flemington straight means he can’t be ignored this weekend.
“He will be top weight with 59.5kg and you have to say he is vulnerable but he is such a good straight horse that you couldn’t leave him out,” he said.
“He ran second to Speediness in the race last year second up and he is going every bit as good as that if not better this prep.”
Gollan feels Pienkna will be better suited by the 1100m than Traveston Girl in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes and is convinced Looks Like The Cat will relish racing up the Flemington straight in the Danehill.
“I think he will really handle the straight … and he might be more vulnerable second up around Caulfield rather than first-up even,” he said.
“He is very forward in his prep … and he is certainly ready to run very, very well.”
Damian Browne will ride Looks Like The Cat, Traveston Girl and Alma’s Fury, while Gold Coast jockey Tegan Harrison will pilot Pienkna and Temple Of Boom.
Gun Case in dress rehearsal for Sydney
Boom galloper Gun Case will set himself up for a leap in class if he continues on his winning way at Doomben on Saturday.
Trainer Liam Birchley is toying with the idea of starting Gun Case at Group Two level in The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 20.
Gun Case will have just his fourth race start in the Pure Jali Handicap (1200m) following wins at Coffs Harbour and Doomben.
“After Saturday we should know exactly where we are going with Gun Case. He beat a small field at Doomben last time but it was on a very wet track,” Birchley said.
“This time the track should be dry but we are up against some handy restricted-class sprinters such as Jefferson Park who has been running in open company.”
Birchley has never hidden the fact he has a huge opinion of Gun Case but he is not locked into Sydney or Melbourne for the spring.
“We will just get over Saturday to start with. But all going well we will probably head south,” he said.
“It really is a matter of getting out the Sydney and Melbourne racing calendars and looking for races which are suitable and he might get into with his prize money level.
“I suppose his immediate aim might be The Shorts.”
Birchley believes Gun Case showed he was up to Sydney class at his first start when he was fifth behind subsequent Group One winner Cosmic Endeavour at Rosehill earlier this year.
“It was his first start, the track was wet and it was a good field,” Birchley said.
Meanwhile, Birchley is keen to press on with plans to take another of his gallopers Time To Plunder for the greys’ race series in Melbourne during the spring carnival.
Time To Plunder makes his return to racing in the Barry Nilsson Lawyers Open (1110m) at the Doomben meeting.
Aimee on trial for Melbourne spring trip
Trainer Noel Doyle will let top filly Aimee shape her own spring destiny.
Nominated for the Furious Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, Aimee will instead resume against easier opposition in the Boston Salon Handicap at Doomben.
Aimee is entered for the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on October 11 and the Caulfield Classic on October 18 but a trip to Melbourne hasn’t been confirmed.
Doyle is one of Queensland’s most experienced trainers but his Melbourne excursions have been rare.
His best win in Melbourne came with Palidamah in the Hong Kong Plate at Flemington more than a decade ago.
“It is a long way to go and an even longer way to walk home. You need to have a horse who is firing before you even consider going down there,” Doyle said.
“I have long-held the theory that I won’t go to Melbourne unless I think we can be competitive.”
Aimee ran third in a barrier trial behind smart sprinter Final Crescendo at the Gold Coast on August 21.
It was her first public hit-out since she ran 13th to Time For War in the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Doomben on May 21.
Before her Sires’ flop, Aimee had won four races in a row including the Group Three Ken Russell Memorial.
“If she runs well we are off to Melbourne. If not, there are plenty of races at home for her,” Doyle said.
Doyle insists there was added merit to Aimee’s juvenile record because she had to overcome bad barriers. She will start from the inside gate for her return.
Senior rider Jason Taylor was on Aimee in most of her seven starts last season but in-form apprentice Matt McGuren takes over on Saturday.
A Doomben win might not be Aimee’s only victory on Saturday.
She is a three-way battle with Flemington winner Oakleigh Girl and Group One-placed Looks Like The Cat for the honour of being named Queensland Two Year Old of the Year.
“It would be nice to win as she was so consistent but it is a strong line up of contenders,” Doyle said.
QUEENSLAND’S favourite horse Buffering looks poised to return to his best this spring after a dominant jump-out win at Eagle Farm on Tuesday.
Buffering set alight the course proper in his first serious hit-out, clocking 47.4 seconds (800m) to leave his trainer Robert Heathcote and regular jockey Damian Browne gobsmacked.
“Damian has obviously had a long association with the horse and he said ‘Rob that’s probably the best he has ever felt at his first-up hit-out since I’ve been involved with the horse’,” Heathcote said.
“The three key factors that Damian mentioned were his enthusiasm to do it was 10 out of 10, he jumped and pinged and ran like the Buffering of old and he pulled up totally clear in the wind and recovered very quickly.
“Even Kevin Thomas at Washpool Lodge, who has looked after this horse since he was a yearling when he spells, said when he sent him in that this is the best he has left my place.”
Buffering took all before him last spring, notching his first win at the top level in the Manikato Stakes (Moonee Valley) in October before claiming another two Group 1s in the VRC Sprint Classic (Flemington) and Winterbottom Stakes (Ascot).
But the seven-year-old is yet to win a race in four starts this year.
He suffered a minor head injury during the winter carnival but even Heathcote started to question whether several seasons of racing at the top level was starting to take its toll.
But both trainer and jockey are now upbeat there is more in store for Queensland’s iron horse this spring.
“It’s only early days yet but the signs are promising,” Browne said.
“I’m not sure what the competition was like (Tuesday) but they were about 10 lengths behind me and I couldn’t see them in my rear vision mirror anyway.”
Standing in Buffering’s way this spring will be the world’s best sprinter, Lankan Rupee.
The pair are likely to clash in the Moir Stakes, Manikato Stakes, Darley Classic and the Hong Kong International Sprint in December and Heathcote is looking forward to the rematches.
“Lankan Rupee is the best sprinter in the world at the moment but not by panels,” he said.
“He raced Buffering once and beat us in the TJ Smith on a heavy track but I know Buffering was not at his peak during the autumn.
“Even (in the winter) he didn’t show his usual ping off the corner and I really think my bloke can bounce back.”
Ontrack Thoroughbreds syndicate manager and form analyst Grant Morgan agrees.
“I’ve seen him do plenty of jump-outs and plenty of gallops and that’s the best I’ve ever seen him work (Tuesday),” Morgan said.
“He just did it so comfortably and his action looks fantastic and I wouldn’t be afraid to be having something on him against Lankan Rupee.”
Buffering will have another jump-out in a fortnight in preparation for his first-up run in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.
Queensland jockeys get pay rise
Queensland jockeys will get a pay rise and a 9.5 per cent superannuation contribution in a new three-year deal.
Racing Queensland announced on Sunday that the state’s jockeys would receive $167.50 per ride with the superannuation contribution taking the amount to $183.41 for the first year.
The base payment will increase each year, going up to $170 plus 10 per cent superannuation contribution in 2015/16 and $175 plus 10.5 per cent the following season.
RQ chief executive Darren Condon said Queensland had one of the highest rates in terms of the number of rides offered each year in Australia and the boost to riding fees would make the state a much more attractive prospect to jockeys.
“We have worked closely with the Queensland Jockeys’ Association on the riding fee and superannuation arrangements and we are pleased to be able to provide future financial security for jockeys,” Condon said.
“The QJA agreed to not receive an increase last year in anticipation of the new wagering deal, which we were grateful for, and we have now been able to provide a competitive package for them.
“The riding fees are paid by Racing Queensland on behalf of the owners to reduce the cost of racing a horse and this new structure ensures the jockeys also receive an improved return.”
QJA president Glen Prentice said it was pleasing the negotiations had led to a favourable outcome for both parties.
“At all times the negotiations were conducted in the right spirit and the QJA and jockeys across the state welcome the agreement for the next three years,” he said.
The increases follow a recent boost to overall prize money from the new 30-year wagering deal between RQ and TattsBet finalised in June.
SMART colt Soldi Domani confirmed his rating as a potential top liner and put himself in line for a trip to Melbourne with his win at Doomben on Saturday.
Sporting blinkers for the first time, Soldi Domani ($8) held on to win The Courier Mail Three-Year-Old Handicap (1350m) by a neck to Life At Sea ($6).
The favourite Dansolei ($2.60) was a long neck back in third.
“He is entered for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas and that was the first step to him being on a float to Melbourne,” trainer Bryan Dais said.
“You have to dream and I think he is potentially the best horse I have been associated with. He will come back here in a fortnight and if he races up to expectation we will be on our way to Melbourne.”
Dais said he had been around horses for 25 years as a trainer and strapper and Soldi Domani was potentially up with the best.
“I strapped the Cox Plate winner Surfers Paradise and was involved with a lot of the horses for the O’Sullivans (New Zealand’s famous racing family),” Dais said.
Winning jockey Brad Stewart said he had been able to get a lovely run just behind the pace.
“The inside barrier was a big help. He is a promising horse,” Stewart said.
Michael Cahill, who rode Dansolei, said the filly had walked out of the boxes but run on well late.
“I don’t think a better barrier would have made much difference. She was slow to go and she probably needs to step up a level.”
Soldi Domani was bought for $52,500 at the Magic Millions Ready To Run Sales in 2013 but has taken time to mature.
“He finished second at his first start in the fastest maiden ever run over 1000m at Eagle Farm. The winner Pienkna is also in line to go to Melbourne so it was a good standard race.”
“Then he didn’t handle the wet track at his previous start,” Dais said.
TEGAN STILL ON A HIGH
Tegan Harrison celebrated her win as Queensland’s Apprentice of the Year with a superb ride to on win on Uno Five.
As part of her apprentice title prize she has won a month with top English trainer Ed Dunlop.
But after her win one punter yelled over the fence she might teach the English a few things.
Harrison showed she had the potential to be one of Australia’s best jockeys with her efforts in group races during the Brisbane winter.
She lived up to that form when she gave Uno Five ($7) every chance before hanging on by a half neck to Lee Ho Fook ($7) in the The Jetty Handicap (2100m).
Trainer Jeremy Sylvester, who is based at Cessnock, missed Saturday’s win but is keen to keep Uno Five in Queensland.
Stable representative Jeff McCarter said Harrison had followed instructions to the letter after getting Uno Five just in behind the pace going out of the straight.
“That is exactly how we told her to ride Uno Five who can be tricky. But Uno Five seems to be racing well here and likes the Queensland sunshine.”
McCarter said Uno Five would be set for a similar race at Doomben in a fortnight.
Harrison said Uno Five had the run of the race and fought on well when tackled after hitting the lead.
“He has had a real spring in his step of late,” McCarter said.
Turnitup to turn it on at Doomben
Group winner Turnitup owes his new trainer Lawrie Mayfield-Smith a win for more reasons than one.
Turnitup, who returns to the scene of his biggest success when he runs at Doomben on Saturday, literally owes Mayfield-Smith his life, twice.
Mayfield-Smith explained his friend, owner-breeder Gino Loiero, was looking for a stallion in 2005 to put over his mare No Finding.
Loireo and Mayfield-Smith have enjoyed a long association and just missed winning the 1996 Queensland Oaks with Sonata who finished a half head behind Arctic Scent.
Mayfield-Smith said he suggested to Loiero that he put No Finding to Dane Shadow and one of the resulting foals was Turnitup.
Troy Hall originally trained Turnitup and the gelding then went to Peter Moody at Caulfield in Melbourne.
Turnitup won the 2011 Group Three Grand Prix at Doomben under Moody but has not raced since he finished last in the 2012 Bernborough Handicap after which he was found to have an injury.
“Gino rang me and said Turnitup had some leg problems and they were thinking of putting him down,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“But I talked them into sending him up here to the University of Queensland vet school.”
“They did a bit of scraping and since I’ve had him he has never had a lame day.
“So you might say he has owed me his life twice and he might like to repay me with a win.”
Turnitup will tackle the Sono Restaurant Mail Open Handicap (1350m) on the back of a fifth in an Eagle Farm trial on August 21.
“It will probably be too short for him on Saturday,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“These old horses usually need a run or two after a spell and I think he will be better when the trips get out to 1400 metres and further.”
Mayfield Smith also has talented sprinter Star Sammy resuming in the Sky International Hcp (1200m).
The winner of six of his 16 starts, Star Sammy won an Eagle Farm barrier trial last week ahead of his return.
Epic to turn form around at Doomben
Trainer Kelly Schweida admits he is baffled by the poor last-start effort of the usually consistent Epic.
Schweida is hoping Epic’s return to his favourite track and distance in the Courier Mail Taste Open Hcp (1600m) at Doomben on Saturday will result in a turnaround.
At Eagle Farm two weeks ago Epic ran poorly to finish second last behind Ferment, beaten nearly seven lengths.
“I have to admit I don’t know what happened. It was the worst run he has ever put in for me,” Schweida said.
“We had the vets and chiropractor go over him and had his blood checked. There appears to be nothing wrong.”
“Maybe it was the weight or just one of those runs. We will find out on Saturday.”
Schweida has called on in-form apprentice Luke Tarrant to reduce Epic’s weight to 55kg.
“It means Epic meets Ferment five kilos better and he also meets a few others better as well,” he said.
Epic has had five attempts at the Doomben 1600m for three wins and two minor placings.
Schweida is concerned about the 59kg three-year-old Shadowside will have to carry in the Courier Mail Three Year Old (1350m).
“He is actually up two kilograms for running seventh first-up and it is four more than he carried at win at his start before that,” he said.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle trainer Kris Lees will monitor the weather ahead of Fine Bubble’s scheduled start in the Corona Beach Party Hcp (1200m).
Fine Bubbles won her only start in Brisbane in a fillies and mares handicap at Eagle Farm three weeks ago but Lees said she would not want it as wet as it has been for the past two weeks.
Birchley undecided on plans for Country
Trainer Liam Birchley doesn’t know what to make of three-year-old Headwater Country after his freakish win at Ipswich on Wednesday.
Headwater Country ($3.60) appeared likely to run last at the 600m and still looked only a place chance with 100m to go before charging late to win the Brisbane Airport Ground Transport Handicap (1000m) by a half neck over Celestial Dragon ($4.40).
Birchley had a big opinion of Headwater Country as a two-year-old and the horse placed behind Earthquake in an early-season juvenile race in Sydney but failed to fire in the autumn.
He returned with a handy barrier trial victory over subsequent Silver Shadow Stakes winner Bring Me The Maid at Doomben last month and took that form to the races with a first-up win at Eagle Farm on August 9.
However, Birchley is still unsure what to do with Headwater Country.
“He had no luck in those races as a two-year-old and we gave him a spell. He seems to have come back well,” Birchley said.
“But I must admit I still don’t know what to make of today’s run. You would have torn up your ticket halfway down the straight.
“He wasn’t going to win until the last 20 metres and he really didn’t travel at any stage of the race.”
Headwater Country will have his next start in a three-year-old race at Doomben two weeks from Saturday.
“That race is over 1200m and after it we might have a clearer idea of whether we should be heading back south,” Birchley said.
Meanwhile, Patinack Farm celebrated a win at Ipswich when favourite Armoured ($2.60) did best in a slogging duel with Midnight Dancer ($4.60) to claim the Brisbane Airport Corporation Cup (1666m).
All horses owned by Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm will be put through a Magic Millions dispersal sale next month after the former mining baron decided to sell off his racing and breeding interests.
Dansolei poised to end trainer’s dry run
Trainer Kelso Wood is set to end a rare run of outs with promising three-year-old Dansolei at Doomben on Saturday.
Dansolei will be having just her second start when she tackles the Courier Mail Handicap (1350m).
Wood has been one of Brisbane’s top trainers for three decades, his best horses including the Group One winners Unequalled and Sizzling, along with Magic Millions Classic winner Real Surreal.
However, Wood has been experiencing a frustrating run of outs and has not had a city winner since Seeking More scored at Doomben on April 12.
He has had 27 metropolitan runners since then and 15 of those have finished fourth or better.
Dansolei is set to end the drought based on her impressive debut effort when she finished third to promising filly Pienkna at Eagle Farm on August 6.
Pienkna franked the form by winning in good fashion at Doomben last Saturday.
Dansolei was to have run in that race but Wood instead elected to scratch her in favour of a barrier trial which she won by four lengths.
“As it turned out the track (at Doomben) was heavy anyway,” Wood said.
“I have always thought she would be better over more ground than the 1000m of her first-up run and the 1350m of Saturday’s race should suit her better.”
Wood has enjoyed plenty of success with horses bred along similar lines to Dansolei, who is by Danzero out of Stolen Beauty.
He has won feature races with two of the filly’s half-relations, Real Surreal and Group Three winner Benny’s Buttons.
Wood also has an affinity with the Danzero breed with his former classy mare Zero Rock being by the Danehill sire.
Meanwhile, Wood is also hoping for a change of luck for his grand old galloper Belltone in Saturday’s Courier Mail Qld Taste Handicap (1615m).
Belltone hasn’t won since last October but has been unlucky in several runs in top company in recent months.
Senior rider Michael Cahill will handle Dansolei and Wood’s apprentice Kirk Matheson has the mount on Belltone.
FLASHY chestnut Looks Like The Cat has matured from a boy to a man and trainer Tony Gollan is even daring to dream of the $3 million Cox Plate.
It might sound like a fantasy.
But there is no doubting the potential of the striking three-year-old who got his name because he looks like baldy-faced assassin Apache Cat, the eight-time Group 1 winner with unique white markings.
While Looks Like The Cat’s primary Melbourne Spring Carnival target is the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), he has also been nominated for the Cox Plate.
He might be $100-1 in early markets but Gollan is making no apologies for Cox Plate dreaming.
“We are all the same, we are all dreaming in the early stages of the Spring and that is what it is all about,” Gollan said.
“I saw Gai Waterhouse the other day was dreaming up all sorts of ideas with her three-year-old Almalad as well.
“These are rising three-year-olds and into their classic year.
“You nominate them for all the big races and you see how it all pans out throughout the Spring.
“More often than not you get disappointed, but you never know if you don’t nominate them for the big races.”
Looks Like The Cat joined fellow Gollan stable Spring hopefuls Temple Of Boom and Alma’s Fury in a 800m jumpout at Eagle Farm on Tuesday morning to prepare for their Melbourne trip.
The trio worked well but most eyes were on Looks Like The Cat who wore blinkers in an experiment which is likely to be repeated during his Melbourne mission.
Jockey Damian Browne, who maintains Looks Like The Cat was a certainty beaten when running third behind Almalad in the Group 1 JJ Atkins at Eagle Farm in June, was delighted
with the jumpout.
Browne reported Looks Like The Cat has returned from a break “bigger and stronger” and the blinkers sharpened him up and helped him to focus.
“The horse has got plenty of ability but it is just the matter of him doing things right,” Browne said.
“In the JJ Atkins he was reluctant to come out from behind the two horses in front of him and I really had to drag him out. He should have won, I have no doubt about that. He was a big baby back then, very immature.
“He has come back much bigger and stronger. If he gets his racing manners sorted out, which he appears to have improved a lot, there is no reason why he won’t be extremely competitive in Melbourne.”
While Spirit Of Boom’s grand career has come to an end and he has started a new career at stud, Gollan feels older brother Temple Of Boom is on track for an impressive Melbourne campaign.
Temple Of Boom is an eight-year-old but has never been in better shape heading to Melbourne.
And it appears he doesn’t miss his younger brother Spirit Of Boom around the Gollan stables.
“I wouldn’t say he misses him. Temple Of Boom is a very matey horse who will be mates with anybody,” Gollan laughed.
Lanieri continues family’s winning ways
Owner-breeder Jack O’Hagan hit the jackpot when he bought a striking looking filly 25 years ago.
The filly went on to race as Belle Salieri and won six races including the 1997 Dane Ripper Stakes.
However, it has been as a broodmare that Belle Salieri has excelled and the win of Lanieri at Doomben on Saturday was the 37th by one of her offspring.
The best known to date have been Belltone, who has won 10 races, and Roman Squire, who won seven.
The other winners from Bellle Salieri include Belscay (10 wins), Miss Orielle (4), Miss Courtly (1), and Secret Donna (1).
“She has been a good producer,” said O’Hagan who had his first Brisbane winner in the late 1940s.
Lanieri made it four wins in a row when she won the Mitavite Hcp (1200m).
Trainer Lindsay Gough has a big opinion of the mare.
“She has done a good job coming from a maiden winner in June to a city winner in August,” he said.
“But she has been up for a while and I don’t want to press her too hard.”
Gough said was confident at her next preparation she would be ready to race over 1400m or even longer.
“I think she might be the ideal mare for the winter fillies and mares races next year but we won’t get ahead of ourselves,” he said.
Trainer Tony Gollan will decide early this week whether Pienkna, who won the three-year-old race at Doomben, will head to Melbourne.
Lucky Tom, third behind Pienkna, remains on an ambitious spring path despite his defeat.
“He slipped a bit coming out of the barriers and a couple of horses crossed him to put him three back on the fence where you didn’t want to be,” trainer Harold Norman said.
“He will be better for the run and we are still going to Melbourne at this stage.”
Norman has entered Lucky Tom for the Cauflield Guineas and the Cox Plate.
THE bleak August chill may have unearthed a number of future topliners at Doomben on Saturday, with Pienkna, Gun Case and Lanieri all promising better things to come.
Late starter Gun Case is poised to make up for lost time as trainer Liam Birchley races the clock to escalate his rating and bank account.
Birchley has no doubt the son of War Pass is up to some better races south of the border, but fears he would be balloted out of suitable targets at the moment.
“He dropped the rider one day and ran back to the stables and slipped over on the bitumen,” Birchley said.
“We couldn’t stitch it because it was a real burning type of abrasion so we just had to wait and that’s why he took so long to get to the races.”
In all, Gun Case was scratched four times before he finally debuted at Rosehill in March.
A minor viral issue means Gun Case kicked off his current preparation at Coffs Harbour.
“I didn’t mind taking him away because the trip did him good,” Birchley said.
The laid back Glen Colless has been bullish in his praise for Gun Case.
“I don’t get excited by too many these days but after he won at Coffs Harbour I was pretty happy to stay on him,” Colless said.
Trainer Tony Gollan has made no secret of the high regard he holds Pienkna, but stopped short of locking in a southern trip after she made it two from two on Saturday.
“She’s a beautiful filly, with a great temperament, but she’s still learning,” Gollan said.
“She’s not putting it all together yet. I think she will be better when she has something to follow.
“I don’t think she handled that track either. She didn’t really get through the ground. The other day on firm ground she pinged a lot quicker.”
Gollan said he will “let the dust settle” before deciding on where to go next.
Both Lindsay Gough and Ryan Wiggins were thinking the worst when Lanieri was shuffled back to near last coming to the turn.
“I was thinking ‘where am I going to go here?’ I just kept getting shuffled back,” Wiggins said.
“Nothing went her way really, but she still put them to the sword pretty easily.”
Gough said it was always going to be similar with Lanieri because he wants her to relax so she can be tried over further later on.
Gough said Lanieri may have one more run this time in before being put away for a tilt at stronger races next preparation.
“It’s all about getting her set up for next preparation,” Gough said.
VETERAN jockey Glen Colless has never been one to make big statements.
The unflappable Gold Coast hoop has been in the game long enough to know it’s easy to get carried away.
In true Colless style, he wants to see Gun Case ‘progress through his grades’ before putting a label on the recent maiden winner.
But he did let a little hint away when he couldn’t recall the last time he was this excited about riding a horse.
“I very rarely get excited about them because you’ve got them one day and haven’t the next,” Colless said.
“I think we are too quick to label them these days and I just want to see him go through his grades first.
“But these horses don’t come around often – and I haven’t been this excited about a horse for at least a couple of years.”
Gun Case’s potential can be highlighted by his $1.80 quote for Saturday’s no metropolitan handicap (1200m) at Doomben.
The odds-on price comes despite the four-year-old’s only win coming in a 1000m Coffs Harbour maiden on August 7.
He started at $1.14 that day and won by 3¼-lengths untouched and Colless said the first-up victory was even better than it looked.
“He got in an awkward spot at Coffs and I was third back the fence locked away and coming around the corner I was held up a touch and I probably had to give up three lengths (to get out),” he said.
“But when I asked him to let down he gathered them up in a stride really.
“I don’t know how good he will be and I hate giving them too much of a wrap.
“We will get more of a guide on him on Saturday.”
Gun Case showed he had a future when running fifth to subsequent Group 1 winner Cosmic Endeavour on debut in a benchmark 80 at Rosehill in March.
But with just two race starts next to his name, even trainer Liam Birchley is in the dark about where he will end up.
“He gives me the feeling he is a (Group horse in the making) but because he has had a few small issues along the way I’ve never really given him full bore on the track,” he said.
“It’s meant I haven’t got to see what you usually see when you are getting them ready for a race.
“Because of that you hold back a bit and see what happens on race day and what we’ve seen so far has been really good.
“The thing I am most excited about is how far he will run and his sire (War Pass) was a miler.
“If he can get to a mile with the turn of foot he has got then he is going to be well above average.”
Birchley knows Gun Case will have his knockers.
Even he admits there are plenty of reasons not to take the odds-on price.
But Birchley is upbeat he will prove his doubters wrong.
“In a lot of ways you could find a reason to pot him,” he said.
“I’m sure a lot of people will say he hasn’t run for a little while and he is going to 1200m for the first time and he is not proven in this company yet.
“He has still got it all to do but hopefully it’s just a step along the way.”
Story courtesy Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/gun-case-yet-to-confirm-potential-but-ready-to-fire-at-doomben-on-saturday/story-fnii0mrv-1227033127942
Smart galloper Falino will have to prove his first-up win was no fluke before he earns a trip to Sydney.
Falino surprised his connections when he came from near-last to win a 1000m open handicap at Eagle Farm on August 9.
It was his first start since November when he was well beaten in the Recognition Stakes over 1600m.
Falino has always had a reputation as a talented horse and won four of his first eight starts including the Group Three BTC Classic when trained by Jeff Caught.
He subsequently had a wind operation and was transferred to trainer Darren Bell who has won two races with him.
Falino showed his best form when he unleashed a withering burst to score at Eagle Farm two weeks ago.
“It really wasn’t expected, I thought they would be way too sharp for him,” Bell said.
“He had only had a jump out a couple of weeks before his last-start win and I just thought they would run him off his feet.”
However, Bell wants to see Falino repeat that effort before he makes concrete plans.
“I have been pleased with him this week but let us just see how he goes on Saturday before we get too excited,” he said.
Bell pointed out Falino had a few things against him in Saturday’s race and has only been placed once in five second-up starts.
“And if it rains he won’t be running if the track gets too heavy,” Bell said.
Bell has discussed the possibility of a Sydney trip with Falino’s owners, former bookmakers Fred Lansky and his son Trevor.
“They are also happy to let the horse tell us if he is ready for Sydney,” Bell said.
Apprentice Geoff Goold will ride Falino in Saturday’s The Queensland X-Ray Open Handicap (1200m).
FORMER star apprentice jockey Aidan Holt has revealed how he was forced to vomit up most of his meals almost every day for the last six months of his career.
The 19-year-old opened up on Tuesday about his constant weight battle two months after he was forced to retire because of the issue.
“I would wake up and even the day after the races I would be too scared to eat so I would eat something and then flip it back up,” the Brisbane-based Holt said.
One of the state’s most gifted young jockeys, Holt was determined to keep going and said the procedure of ‘flipping’ became common practice for him in the last six months of his career.
“I had to do it all the time and it would be like a Monday I wouldn’t do it and that’s about it,” he said.
“The rest of the time I was that worried about my weight — so you just get rid of what you had to eat.”
Holt finally gave up the jockey dream when he couldn’t get down to 57.5kg for the ride on Epic
at Doomben on June 21.
He was starting to cough up blood and had already lost close to 6kg in the two days prior to the meeting.
Holt admits he rarely felt well on raceday.
“You just feel light headed all the time,” he said.
“When you are riding it’s all right and the adrenalin keeps you going but as soon as you hit the finish line and pull up it hits you.”
Holt is unsure whether other Queensland hoops take part in ‘flipping’ but warned young jockeys would continue to be forced to retire if the minimum riding weight of 54kg isn’t raised soon.
Sports doctor Anita Green warned constant induced vomiting was dangerous and said it could even lead to death in some cases.
“The worry is some people tip over in developing a true eating disorder and a small percentage of those people do actually die in the long run because it becomes entrenched and they lose so much weight and can literally self-starve themselves,” said Green, who is also a Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson.
“It’s also a problem with losing acid and potassium and if you do a lot of vomiting it can actually upset the chemistry in the blood.
“It can cause damage to your oesophagus as well and to the enamel on your teeth because acid isn’t what you expect to have in your mouth.”
Fortunately, Holt came out the other end safely and now tips the scales at a comfortable 68kg.
“I spoil myself a bit now and I have a steak and a beer,” he said.
“I have a lot more energy and I wake up and I’m happy to go to work.
“I started back at (trainer) Liam Birchley’s last week after a five-week holiday back home (in Townsville) and I’m riding trackwork and still doing jump outs and trials.
“If it comes off naturally I would give (being a jockey) another go but I don’t think so.”
RECORD-SETTING trainer Chris Waller is set to race more horses in Queensland in the wake of the state’s prizemoney overhaul.
Waller may consider setting up a Queensland satellite stable in “three to four years” to capitalise on the increased purses.
Waller welcomed Racing Queensland’s announcement on Monday that Saturday metropolitan prizemoney would increase from $45,000 to a minimum of $65,000 a race from October 1 and hinted he was likely to take advantage of the rise.
“It won’t be long before (my) NSW owners work out it is good prizemoney and it’s more than our midweek prizemoney in Sydney ($40,000),” Waller said.
“If there are suitable races up there they will soon say, ‘Chris, come on, let’s take a few up to Queensland’.’’
Waller is not in the position to set up a Queensland satellite stable now but did hint it could happen in the future.
“We are in Queensland for three months of the year anyway and we may as well be there for the other nine months,” he said. “But because we just opened our Melbourne stables it’s not really possible at the moment.
“But who knows down the track and they are obviously starting to head back in the right direction and in three to four years time it could be a different story.”
The prizemoney announcement on Monday could change the landscape of metro racing in the state, with Waller predicting a host of southern trainers would aim for Queensland races more often.
“Especially in our carnival time in Sydney and whether it be spring or autumn it’s quite hard to find the right races for your normal Saturday class horses,” he said.
“You will really notice it then. You will find a lot of the country horses going up, especially the ones halfway in between Brisbane and Sydney.”
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees fits said he was likely to send even more horses north.
Lees has increased his Queensland runners noticeably in recent months and has recent Eagle Farm winner Fine Bubbles engaged at Doomben again on Saturday.
Peter Snowden also did not rule out setting up a satellite stable in Queensland one day.
“For me all my attention is going into Sydney at the moment but I wouldn’t rule it out,” the trainer said.
“I love Brisbane and it’s a great place with good people and now they are doing the tracks up it will make it more attractive.”
Snowden said the money overhaul would help Queensland bridge the gap with NSW and Victorian racing.
“It will bring it back for sure,” he said. “People were going broke but now they have kicked the prizemoney up to that level there is something there for everyone.
“It will lead to bigger fields, bigger revenue and bigger turnover.”
Story courtesy of Brad Davidson Gold Coast Bulletin http://www.couriermail.com.au/sport/superracing/extra-money-already-welcomed-by-interstate-raiders-in-wake-of-rq-overhaul-as-chris-waller-looks-north/story-fnii0njy-1227028632406
Matt McGuren making the most of Brisbane
Apprentice Matt McGuren is determined to make the most of his second coming as a metropolitan rider with the support of Queensland trainers.
He had a stint in Brisbane two years ago riding winners for some of the top stables including Patinack Farm, but weight issues got the better of him and he returned to northern NSW.
McGuren has decided to give it another try and has made the move to the Bruce Hill stable on the Gold Coast.
Since joining Hill last month he has ridden eight winners including four in the metropolitan area.
Hill has a huge opinion of McGuren, boosted by the rider’s five recent wins on stable horses.
“Matt can really ride and if he can get his weight under control he will be in demand,” Hill said.
Hill has supported his apprentice with three rides at Eagle Farm on Wednesday, the final meeting at the track until mid-2015.
Eagle Farm will undergo renovations including a complete reconstruction of the course proper.
Another McGuren fan is top trainer Rob Heathcote who believes the apprentice is one of the best value riders around.
“He is a strong intelligent rider with a three kilo claim. He just needs to keep his weight in check,” Heathcote said after McGuren won on Tail and All for the stable on Saturday.
McGuren is working hard on stabilising his weight.
“I am really trying to get it under control. I ride at 55 kilograms at the moment and if I can get it down to 54 I will be happy,” he said.”
“There are opportunities in Brisbane and I will be here until the end of the year when my apprenticeship ends.
Queensland prize money increases announced
Saturday prize money in Brisbane will rise by 37 per cent with each race to be worth a minimum of $65,000.
Racing Queensland announced across-the-board prize money increases on Monday with metropolitan gallops and greyhound racing the biggest winners.
Overall thoroughbred prize money will rise by up to 20 per cent with the biggest lift on the Saturday metropolitan meetings.
Greyhounds will receive a 50 per cent boost while harness racing goes up by 16.5 per cent.
The increases will begin from October 1 and run through to 2016.
At an industry briefing on Monday, RQ chairman Kevin Dixon said the system of the three codes receiving a set percentage of available funds had been scrapped.
He said the prize money would now be based on each code’s individual revenue less the costs incurred.
“The idea is to enable the codes which are performing to benefit from their achievements,” Dixon said.
“If a code shoots the lights out they deserve to benefit from their hard work.”
Dixon said it was important to maximise growth by recognising the hard work of each code.
“We want to break the mentality of hand-outs to be replaced by a policy which encouraged all codes to maximise their returns,” he said.
The changes follow a new $4.5 billion 30-year Product Agreement, RQ signed with the Tatts Group in late June.
The minimum prize money for Saturday metropolitan racing will be further boosted for horses eligible for the QTIS bonus scheme.
There will also be major increases to provincial and country racing.
Midweek metropolitan prizemoney will now be $20,000 up from $17,000 per race.
Gold Coast, Ipswich and Sunshine Coast meetings will average $16,000 each which is up about 25 per cent .
Toowoomba’s prize money will go from an average $11,000 to $14,000.
All country races will now be worth $7000.
Racing Minister Steve Dickson said when his government came to power racing had been in disarray and far from united.
“Today we are united and it is going from the dark to the light,” he said.
Monday’s announcement follows news of a stronger QTIS scheme which encourages investors to buy Queensland-bred horses and which will inject further millions into the industry.
Farm abandonment confirms wisdom of revamp
The reason Eagle Farm racecourse will be closed for redevelopment was plainly evident when its meeting was abandoned on Saturday.
Eagle Farm will shut after Wednesday’s midweek meeting for at least eight months while $22 million is spent on its racing surface and facilities.
Stewards abandoned Saturday’s meeting after three races when jockeys complained about visibility.
The Eagle Farm track has been held together by soil fill in recent years and when it is wet it turns to mud and flies into the faces of jockeys and horses.
A mud-splattered Chris Munce summed it up best when he said: “What time do the tractors arrive?”
Fellow jockey Jim Byrne said rider safety had to be paramount.
The Brisbane Race Club had put a major effort into Saturday’s meeting, promoting it as a chance to say goodbye to the old Eagle Farm surface.
BRC Chairman Neville Bell said one or two extra races would be added to Wednesday’s racing.
“I suppose it is ironic we have had a drought for eight months and now it decides to rain,” Bell said.
Earlier, a flu-ridden trainer Rob Heathcote was lucky when he was too slow to scratch his horse Tail and All from the Secutor Securities Handicap (1600m).
Heathcote was keen to scratch Tail and All ($4.70) but decided to run when the favourite L’Entrecote was taken out.
“Kelly Schweida was too quick for me and scratched L’Entrecote so I thought I might as well run,” Heathcote said.
“Tail and All has struggled some times on heavy tracks but he is honest as they come.”
Tail and All’s win continued the good run for apprentice Matt McGuren who has switched to Bruce Hill on the Gold Coast.
“I am here to the end of the year when I am out of my apprenticeship,” said McGuren, who comes from the NSW Northern Rivers region.
THE last two meetings on the outdated Eagle Farm track are likely to be reduced to slogfests with heavy showers set to hit Brisbane and stick around for the entire weekend.
This Saturday’s metro meeting to be held on the 150-year-old surface with renovations on the track set to begin following the Eagle Farm meeting next Wednesday.
To mark the occasion, the Brisbane Racing Club will offer 300 spectators the chance to take home a piece of the track but they could be picking up mud if weather forecasters are correct.
Weatherzone meteorologist Rob Sharpe said heavy showers are expected to hit Brisbane on Saturday afternoon and continue on Sunday leaving Wednesday’s meeting in some doubt.
“It will be pretty wet across the whole day on Saturday but the peak will be in the afternoon and evening,” Sharpe said.
“At the start of (racing on Saturday) it won’t be too much of a bog but by the end it will.”
Anywhere between 20-40ml is expected to fall at Eagle Farm on Saturday and a further 10-20ml is expected in the region on Sunday.
The deluge might not sound disastrous but the Eagle Farm track has fallen to pieces even with the lightest of showers in recent months.
One of the driest winters on memory saved Racing Queensland from embarrassment during the winter carnival this year but they won’t be as lucky this time around.
There is certain to be a host of scratchings if the rain comes as expected but one man hoping the forecasters are right is Ben Currie.
The Toowoomba trainer has mudlark Rothera engaged in the Stanley River Thoroughbreds Open Handicap (1400m) and hopes the return of rain could help turn the nine-year-old’s form around.
“He is getting on a bit and I’ve questioned his last couple of runs whether he really wants to attack the line or not,” Currie said.
“It’s more just an effort thing for him at the moment and whether he wants to be there but hopefully the rain might be something that can spark him.
“His work actually has been really good lately and this week is probably as good as I’ve seen him work.
“He loves the wet and has a good record on heavy tracks, so hopefully the rain comes.”
Rothera, who has won five from nine starts on heavy tracks, joins a host of wet track specialists racing at Eagle Farm, including Sequillian (race one), Youthful King (race four), Lee Ho Fook (race six), Cash ‘N’ Style (race seven) and Forefront (race eight).
Footnote: The piece of the track that will be taken is from an area not in use at the meeting on Wednesday.
Speed merchant Gojo Mimo set for city test
Muscled-up gelding Gojo Mimo’s reputation as one of Queensland’s fastest horses out of the barriers will be tested with his return to city racing on Saturday.
Gojo Mimo will be having his first start in metropolitan class since November when he tackles the Herbert Smith Freehills Handicap (1000m).
It will be one of the highlights of Saturday’s racing as Gojo Mimo has won both his runs since a spell with displays of sustained speed at Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast.
Both times he has bounced out of awkward barriers and led for comfortable wins in smart time over 1000m.
The jury is out on whether he can repeat those performances against a field of hardened city-class horses.
But trainer Brad Herne is confident Gojo Mimo has returned a much stronger horse.
“I think it is one of the reasons he is now getting out of the barriers so quickly. He looks stronger and he is starting to live up to the promise we always knew he had,” Herne said.
“We have had this race in mind for him right from the start of this campaign. I think 1000 metres is ideal for him at the moment but I have no doubt he will eventually run a strong 1200 metres.”
Herne said Gojo Mimo was ideally drawn at barrier two on Saturday in a much tougher field than the gelding had faced.
“There are a couple of really tough old short-course horses in the field so it will give us a good guide to where we are at,” he said.
Jockey Ashley Butler, who rode Gojo Mimo at his last win, will ride the gelding at 54kg.
TEGAN Harrison’s spectacular effort to stay in the saddle of Few Are Chosen at Doomben yesterday has sparked renewed debate about the safety of the 1000m start at the venue.
With three horses crossing from outside, Few Are Chosen became the meat in the sandwich and dipped sharply, forcing Harrison’s left leg out of the iron and catapulting her to a near hand stand position.
Somehow she was able to hang on and the horse recovered to finish sixth.
At a subsequent inquiry a bitterly disappointed Damian Browne was suspended for eight meetings over the incident after pleading to stewards the interference was a result of both his horse wanting to hang in and pressure from the outside.
At a different inquiry, Grant Cooksley was outed for seven meetings over a separate incident in the same race.
Trainers and jockeys detest the 1000m start at Doomben because of the very short run to the first turn.
When the rail is out 10m, like yesterday, it exacerbates the problem, because there is only a 140m run to the first turn.
Chief steward Allan Reardon describes it as “a bad start” and said it has been a problem for many years.
Reardon said his panel may make a submission to Racing Queensland programmers about the future of the start.
“The problem we have at the moment with Eagle Farm being out of play is that it’s the only 1000m metropolitan start we have, which is essential for early season two-year-olds,” Reardon said.
Champion jockey Chris Munce said it was similar to the 1800m at Eagle Farm but because of the early pressure in 1000m races, it was harder to negate.
“Put it this way, you very rarely see horses come from wide gates to win at that start,” Munce said. “I know the winner has come from out there this time, but usually you have to have panels on them to do it.”
Punters out in force for Doomben midweek
Doomben played host to its biggest crowd in more than four decades when 20,000 racegoers packed the racetrack for the Brisbane Race Club’s annual Mekka Wednesday.
The Exhibition Wednesday meeting is usually held at Eagle Farm but was switched to Doomben this year.
The biggest post-war crowd at Doomben was in 1973 when 30,000 people were on hand to farewell legendary racehorse Gunsynd.
BRC chairman Neville Bell said just under 20,000 fans turned up when Black Caviar won the 2011 BTC Cup.
“However, Wednesday’s crowd will be the equal if not more than the Black Caviar day. We had 12,000 pre sales and there have been about 7,000 to 8,000 walk ups.”
“We won’t have a final figure until Thursday but it looks as though it is the biggest crowd in 41 years.”
There was plenty of action on the racetrack with apprentice Ruby Ride bouncing back from a serious fall on Sunday to win on Thinkhesaurus ($5) in the Mother Energy Handicap (1010m).
Ride was flung over the fence on her way to the barriers at Gatton on Sunday and taken to hospital.
“Thinkhesaurus is a smart horse and it was an incentive to get back in the saddle,” Ride said.
South African jockey Robbie Fradd scored his first win at his first day riding in Brisbane when Vaz De Torres ($17) won the Corona Beach Handicap (1600m).
Fradd, who has ridden with great success in his homeland and Singapore, has moved to Queensland. He will be doing some of the riding for top trainer Rob Heathcote who has Vaz De Torres.
Trainer Stewart Mackinnon’s confidence in the potential of his galloper Arawak ($13) paid off when the gelding won the Captain Morgan Handicap (1200m).
“One of Arawak’s owners told me they had bought a horse and it was a `roarer’,” Mackinnon said. “She asked me what that meant and I said it certainly didn’t mean it was a lion.
“But Arawak had an operation and after getting over an infection he has shown plenty of potential.”
QUEENSLAND’S booming young jockey ranks could be boosted further with talented NSW hoop John Kissick, a former apprentice to leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller, looking to move north.
Kissick, 24, is about to embark on a two-week Queensland holiday and will visit Eagle Farm races on Saturday to introduce himself to local trainers and jockeys.
Now based in Wagga Wagga in south-western NSW, the former NSW champion apprentice says he is keen to make the move to Brisbane in the next six to 12 months.
“Sydney probably wasn’t for me although I learned a lot there working for Mr Waller,’’ Kissick said.
“I wanted to leave Sydney to go back to the bush but I am looking for some new challenges and I have my eye on Brisbane.
“I like the lifestyle and the warmer weather in Brisbane and it has some very good racing there as well.
“My Dad lives in Brisbane but I will probably look to buy my own place up there.’’
The laid-back Kissick has saddle and will travel and currently rides anywhere and everywhere in regional NSW including Bathurst, Goulburn, Forbes, Gundagai and recently rode as far north as Coffs Harbour.
He has travelled thousands of kilometres in the bush since returning from his Sydney apprenticeship with Waller.
But he is far more than a bush jockey and Waller was hugely impressed by the youngster and had no doubt he could make it as a senior metropolitan jockey.
The signs were there early that Kissick was a rare talent.
In 2011-12, he was crowned NSW’s leading apprentice despite only riding for eight months of the season because of injury.
Kissick has done it the hard way, badly breaking his pelvis in a track accident as a teenager, which hospitalised him for three months just when he was about to get his ticket to ride.
He spent a further seven months off the track and was lucky to be able to walk again, let alone continue his riding career.
Kissick’s looming move north will inject further competition into Brisbane’s jockey ranks at a time where there is already fierce riding rivalries.
A horde of young apprentices have made their names in Brisbane in recent times and 21-year-old Tim Bell took out last season’s metropolitan riding title.
But senior riders such as Chris Munce and Larry Cassidy are also in fine form and won’t be swept aside by the young guns.
Better Than Ready not ready for spring
Injury-prone sprinter Better Than Ready will soon begin pre-training but spring racing is out of reach.
Trainer Kelly Schweida is not giving up on getting him back for the summer features at home in Brisbane ahead of an autumn campaign.
Schweida admitted he was a frustrating horse to train with a torn hamstring the latest problem to interrupt his career as he was being prepared for races in Sydney and Melbourne.
Schweida had been looking at the Missile Stakes at Randwick for Better Than Ready’s first spring run but the horse was in the spelling paddock when Sweet Idea won on Saturday.
The now four-year-old came back from injury to win both his Brisbane starts in November and then ran fourth behind the world’s number one sprinter, Lankan Rupee, in the Group Two Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield in February.
Schweida had planned to start him in the Group One Oakleigh Plate but Better Than Ready was sent for a spell after injuring his hoof.
“It has been one thing after another with him. He even put himself into a fence at Doomben earlier in his career,” Schweida said.
“But he is ready to go back into pre-training on the water walker at Washpool Lodge. The spring is too soon and the thing I have to decide is whether to bring him back for our summer sprint races.
“The other option is to give him a really long rest and prepare for the Melbourne and Sydney autumn next year.”
Better Than Ready has won eight of his 16 starts and prizemoney in excess of $484,000. He showed his class as an early three-year-old when he broke the 1200m record at Randwick in the Brian Crowley Stakes.
Another talented sprinter, General Jackson, is likely to do the remainder of his racing in Victoria after again hanging off the track at Eagle Farm in the Jade Open (1000m) on Saturday.
General Jackson originally raced in Queensland but had been with Mick Price in Melbourne for several months, winning races at Moonee Valley and Morphettville in Adelaide.
He returned home last month for a fourth at Caloundra but hung badly at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Trainer Mick Mair indicated General Jackson was likely to return to Victoria and anti-clockwise racing.
Winnners keep coming for Liam Birchley
Liam Birchley’s stable has been depleted in recent times with four of his promising young horses sold to Hong Kong.
But it hasn’t slowed the popular trainer who likes to travel his horses and has produced two smart three-year-old winners in the past week.
Gun Case went to Coffs Harbour during the week and came away a winner while Headwater Country scored at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The two won recent Doomben trials and ran up to those impressive efforts with the wins.
Birchley had Gun Case entered for Eagle Farm last Wednesday but took the colt to Coffs Harbour where he strolled home in a maiden.
“Gun Case had already been to Sydney for his only other start. But I wanted to toughen him up a bit and get him used to travelling,” Birchley said.
“A trip in a float to Coffs Harbour helped him mature.”
Gun Case is now likely to return to Brisbane for some three-year-old races before a possible trip to the southern spring carnivals.
Headwater Country is also likely to stay in Brisbane after his impressive win in the Flight Centre Hcp (1000m).
The Snitzel gelding is much travelled having run at the Gold Coast, Randwick, Warwick Farm, Canberra and Wellington during his last campaign.
“The travel seems to have toughened him up and he has come back a stronger horse,” Birchley said.
Breeder Peter Marshall, who also owns Headwater Country, is building a strong tie with Birchley.
Headwater Country’s win also marked a resurgence by jockey Larry Cassidy who has finally thrown off injury problems to be back in form.
Cassidy had two winners and a second from his three rides at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
TWO WAY BATTLE FOR BRISBANE RIDERS TITLE
Jockeys Tim Bell and Michael Cahill need only look at history to be reminded their battle for the Brisbane premiership could come down to the final race of the season.
Bell’s win on Mister Booze at Doomben on Saturday edged him past defending champion Cahill in the premiership race and he will go into the final meeting of the season on Wednesday leading 57-56.
The premiership battle has been the highlight of Brisbane racing in recent weeks and is reminiscent of the famous last day of the 1965-66 season.
Len Hill went into the day leading Skeeter Sanders by two wins and thought he had the premiership in his keeping when he rode a double.
But Sanders rode four of the last five winners to draw level and share the title.
It was the closest Brisbane title on record but it is rare for the jockeys premiership to be anything but a one-way street.
Since that famous battle 49 years ago there have been no more draws and only two titles have been decided by one win.
Both Bell and Cahill have six scheduled rides at Eagle Farm.
The metropolitan title wasn’t the only Queensland premiership to go down to the wire.
Jim Byrne rode the last winner at Ipswich on Friday to claim the coal city’s premiership with 24 wins, one in front of Cahill and Bell.
Skye Bogenhuber rode a treble to beat Brooke Stower by three for the Toowoomba title after they went into the Saturday night meeting locked at 26-1/2 each.
Travis Wolfgram easily won the Gold Coast title while Damian Browne was the leading jockey at the Sunshine Coast.
HARRISON GETS THE NOD FOR TEMPLE OF BOOM SPRING CARNIVAL CAMPAIGN
Leading Brisbane apprentice Tegan Harrison has been given the nod to continue her association with Temple Of Boom during his Spring Carnival campaign.
Harrison was the regular rider for Temple Of Boom during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and the pair came so close to pulling off a remarkable Group 1 double with photo finish seconds in the $650,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1350m) at Doomben and the $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
Eagle Farm trainer Tony Gollan, soon to be crowned the Brisbane’s leading trainer for the first time, has booked Harrison to ride Temple Of Boom in the Spring in preference to securing a top Melbourne jockey as has been the case in past southern campaigns.
“She has never ridden interstate for me but she is going great and I think she deserves her chance to go down there now,” Gollan told The Courier-Mail.
“I don’t really want to put a Melbourne jockey on Temple Of Boom and the owners are really good with that sort of stuff.
“Temple has been running really well for Tegan. He is eight years old next week yet he will go to Melbourne in the best winter form of his life.”
Even though Harrison missed out on collecting her first Group 1 victory, she was able steer Temple Of Boom to a Group 2 win when the seven year old caused a huge upset in beating the more fancied stablemate Spirit Of Boom in the $175,000 Greenslopes Private Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm at the beginning of the Winter Carnival.
But Spirit Of Boom was able to reverse the placings in the Doomben10000 in a tight photo finish before Temple Of Boom ran second to Sunshine Coast sprinter River Of Lad by the smallest of margins in the Stradbroke Handicap.
“I can’t fault Tegan for getting beaten in the Stradbroke, he ran great, and no-one would have thought he could run that well in the Stradbroke,” Gollan said.
Gollan has selected the Group 3 $150,000 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) up the Flemington straight on September 13 as Temple Of Boom’s Spring Carnival pipe opener, a race the rising eight year old has run in twice before, including a second placing last year to Speediness.
“Temple knows the straight very well and he will be the perfect horse for her to ride in her first straight race in Melbourne. She will enjoy it,” Gollan said.
Gollan will then aim Temple Of Boom towards the Group 1 $450,000 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 26 and then the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Harrison has been riding in great form of late and has quickly developed into one of the leading jockeys in Brisbane and with two metropolitan meetings to go before the end of the season is lying in fifth position on the jockey’s premiership table with forty-three winners.
She will join the senior riding ranks at the beginning of the new racing season in August after wrapping up her second apprentice’s title.