Caloundra based trainer Andrew Williamson is gearing up for a big Brisbane Winter Carnival with his talented More Than Ready gelding Ready To Rip after their smart first-up win at Eagle Farm on Easter Saturday.
While the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm in June is the main winter aim for Ready To Rip at this stage, Williamson remains hopeful that the three-year-old will show enough potential to warrant a stint at the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on the same day.
“He’ll go to the Gold Coast Guineas (Group 3 on May 7) next, then the Fred Best Classic (Group 3 at Doomben on May 21) but he will also be nominated for the Stradbroke,” Williamson said.
The lightly-raced Ready To Rip, purchased for $55,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, has started six times for four wins earning over $167,350 in prize money.
In January they enjoyed a gritty stakes win, overcoming the far outside barrier of a 15 horse field in the Magic Millions Plate (1200m).
On Saturday Ready To Rip showed they were still the picture of consistency when they found the line one length clear of Liesele in the $100,000 Mick Dittman Plate (1000m) while Tony Gollan’s Spirit Of Boom was a close third.
Jockey Damian Browne rode Ready To Rip to victory and was enthusiastic over what they have the ability to achieve over the upcoming months.
“The best is yet to come,” Browne said of Ready To Rip.
“He went into this race (the Mick Dittman) underdone but during the run he was always going to win.
“I was surprised how easily he travelled up on the corner and he let down really well in the straight.”
Unfortunately if Ready To Rip does make the Stradbroke Handicap field, Browne won’t be able to take the mount due to the light-weight they will be allocated.
Thirty-two year old Toowoomba trainer Tony Gollan also enjoyed a promising start to the Brisbane Winter Carnival as stablemates Listen Son and Spirit Of Boom launched their campaigns.
“These are undoubtedly the best lot of horses I’ve ever had,” Gollan said of his current collection that also includes Magic Millions Sprint winner Temple Of Boom.
“I have had them all since they were yearlings and watched them improve and it’s a great position to be in as the carnival approaches.”
Gollan is tipping Sequalo colt Spirit Of Boom, who finished third to Ready To Rip in the Mick Dittman Plate, to improve over the coming weeks.
“He’s a colt who gets better with racing and I just hope he can get some dry tracks this campaign.”
Meanwhile, four-year-old Listen Son also ran an excellent race upon resuming on Saturday when second to Border Rebel in the $80,000 Listed Hinkler Handicap (1200m) as they head towards a start in the Stradbroke.
“If he can take the next step he’ll go toward the Stradbroke – if not there are races like the Eye Liner and the Glasshouse Handicap,” Gollan said.
Border Rebel is also Stradbroke-bound after the Sue Grills-trained Johannesburg five-year-old pulled out a career best performance to win the Hinkler by nearly two lengths with 60kg on their back.
“He (Border Rebel) will never start on a dry track again,” Grills said after the win.
“He loves a soft track and I know Queensland really needs some sunshine but I’ll be hoping the rain keeps coming.”
Premier Brisbane trainer Robert Heathcote also saw the winter potential in a number of his carnival hopefuls at Saturday’s meeting with Danbird four-year-old Captain Clayton running third in the Hinkler Handicap and his Queensland Oaks contender Hidden Kisses beaten less than half a length by Bianca Jewel in the $100,000 Listed Princess Stakes (1600m).