Toowoomba-based trainer Norm Hilton is hoping he can take the Doncaster Mile trophy home to Queensland as he prepares to saddle up his in-form five-year-old Bold Glance in the $2 million Randwick showdown.
Sequalo gelding Bold Glance is one of 18 acceptors for this year’s Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Bold Glance is looking to break a 35 year drought for the Queenslanders in the iconic Randwick mile.
The last Queensland-trained horse to win the Doncaster was Jim Atkin’s Dalrello back in 1975.
“I hope we can do it,” Hilton said of equalling the late Hall Of Fame trainer Atkins’ achievement.
“I can’t put myself on the same stage as Jim (Atkins) but it would be unreal to win the Doncaster like Jim did with Dalrello.
“Mr Atkins used to give me advice whenever I asked.”
Having shown terrific recent form in Queensland this season, Hilton is convinced Bold Glance deserves his chance at Group 1 glory on Saturday.
Winner of the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast in January, Bold Glance also finished a game second in the Listed Falvelon Quality (1200m) at Eagle Farm on February 26 before taking out the Carbine Club Gold Coast Stakes (1200m) last month.
At his most recent start Bold Glance ran a promising Doncaster trial finishing less than a length away third to upset winner My Kingdom Of Fife in the Group 3 Doncaster Mile Prelude (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.
“I thought it was a big run in the Prelude,” Hilton said.
“It didn’t surprise me and I reckon he would have won with a decent alley.
“He jumped well and then settled back but then got shunted four wide and never got in again.”
Having drawn ideally in barrier three, Bold Glance is a $61 roughie in the Doncaster markets and is due to be ridden by Scott Seamer at the lightweight of 51.5kg.
Seamer has been aboard for Bold Glance’s last two starts.
He was also the jockey Bold Glance controversially dumped when scratched from the George Ryder Stakes.
Hilton has been impressed with horse’s progress since the Doncaster Prelude.
“He’s 100 per cent and has pulled up magnificently,” Hilton said.
“He was that well he could have run again on Sunday.”
Fellow Toowoomba galloper Captain Sonador is the other hope for Queensland in Saturday’s Doncaster Mile, the Roger Milne-trained Shamardal four-year-old coming off an eighth in the George Ryder Stakes.
Leading Melbourne jockey Luke Nolen will take the mount on last year’s Epsom Handicap winner from barrier nine.
Since winning the Group 1 Epsom Handicap in October of last year Captain Sonador’s only other win has been in the Listed Goldmarket Handicap (1300m) at the Gold Coast on January 3.
Captain Sonador is rated a $41 chance to win the Doncaster and his trainer Milne thinks these are generous odds.
“I thought that was pretty good value myself and I’ve had a little lick at it,” Milne told the Toowoomba Chronicle.
Doncaster betting is dominated by glamour mare More Joyous, the Gai Waterhouse-trained four-year-old out for her sixth elite level victory.
“On paper it looks like we’re running for second behind her (More Joyous), and we may well be,” Milne said.
“But I don’t like turning up trying to run for second and funny things can happen.
“If you take More Joyous out of the picture, it looks a fairly evenly balanced field and there are some positives there for us.”
Captain Sonador is well-weighted with 53.5kg, a tidy drop back from the 59kg he carried last start in the George Ryder.
More Joyous is the 57kg topweight of the field.
“More Joyous doesn’t look badly treated with 57kg but I think we’re in pretty well too with 53.5kg,” Milne said.
“I also noticed that she’s never broken 1:35 in any of her (three) mile wins.
“It may be a case of she’s never needed to, but I thought that was an interesting little sidelight to her form.”
Milne is also reporting Captain Sonador to be in good form.
“Everything has gone as good as we could have hoped so we’ll be ready to give it our absolute best shot.”
Race favourite More Joyous has drawn barrier eight, one on the inside of Captain Sonador, and Milne expects this to suit the forward riding position Nolen is likely to take with the Queenslander.
“We’re happy to have Luke (Nolen) on board and drawn in gate nine next to More Joyous,” Milne said.
“They should get a pretty good look at her from there.
“Our horse can be ridden forward if needed and it’s no good us trying to give More Joyous six or seven lengths start at the top of the straight.
“I think he’ll need to be within two or three lengths of her turning for home to have any chance of running her down.”
Captain Sonador is heading towards a Darling Downs stud career and having a second Group 1 win on his record would be a real benefit for connections.
“It’s nice to have an Epsom win next to his name and winning a Doncaster would be a lovely bonus,” Milne said.