Caloundra - the finale of the Queensland Winter Carnival
The Sunshine Coast is the destination of Queensland's winter racing finale. This time-honoured meeting has always thrown up a good horse to follow in the future and I think this year we might just see another.
The feature is the Caloundra Cup with the big question being "can Big Duke carry the weight?" He is of course the class horse in this race but he will need to be at his very best and it will be interesting to see if the punters back him late.
There's also plenty of other quality racing around Australia this Saturday with Rosehill and Caulfield providing great fields.
I know this horse is 10 years old, but when he races on a heavy track he grows two extra legs. Doukhan gets a huge chance to clock another win in the Stayers Cup at Rosehill. While he was beaten by a fair way last start, just try to forget he ran. His run two starts prior in the Sydney Cup was a beauty and sets him up nicely for a race like this.
Blake Shinn, who takes Saturday's ride, is also genuinely airborne! There's no jockey in the country riding better now and I hope he brings that form to Rosehill.
You'd love to own a horse like Bon Amis. He's just so honest and he showed his grit last start when just going down to Deprive at Randwick. A winner on heavy ground, Bon Amis has drawn the fence here and can get the right run in transit and be produced late by Samantha Clenton. He is second-up from a spell as well this Saturday and in preparations gone by, this is when he has raced his best.
Richard Laming, who trains Jamaican Rain, has been chasing a wet track with this girl and I think Saturday he might just find that at the Sunshine Coast. Just like our tip in Sydney, this girl absolutely loves the sting out and she flies! Her run last start in a Group 1 at Eagle Farm was a gem. If she gets any luck in the running, I think she can blow this field away. She's drawn close to the rail and it will take a good horse to beat her.
Think this filly will run a very big race on her home track. She was originally aimed at the Queensland Oaks, but the stable decided she was better suited to the 1600 metres. While she didn't figure in the placings last start, she wasn't beaten by too much. Back to her own age, I think she will get a lovely run and she won't mind the sting out of the ground.
Dr Drill was simply outstanding last start. He controlled the race from the front and kicked at the right time to put his rivals away convincingly. He can again roll along in front and control this race. Theodore Nugent is a young rider on the rise in Victoria. Dr Drill is a short-price favourite but he deserves to be. Best horse in the race!
A talented galloper on her day, she burst onto the scene a few years ago in scintillating fashion. Her run last start at Flemington wasn't too bad, making up good ground from a rear position. Noel 'King' Callow jumps on board this girl now and I think she can settle in a nice position and get some cover throughout the run. If she can produce that winning burst we've become accustomed to, she can run right over the top of them.