Choice Ride for Cassidy in Gunsynd

Two-time Melbourne Cup winning jockey Jim Cassidy will maintain his association with improving three-year-old Levi’s Choice this Saturday, hoop and horse both officially kicking off their Brisbane Winter Carnival campaigns at Eagle Farm.

Galileo gelding Levi’s Choice is one of four acceptors for Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) for Warwick Farm-based trainer John Thompson.

On April 16 at Randwick Cassidy mounted an unsuccessful protest against Lucha Libre and jockey Craig Williams when Levi’s Choice was beaten by a nose in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) last start.

“The winner ran out and ran us off the track but they never touched until the line so the stewards said they couldn’t uphold the protest,” Thompson said.

“I thought we should of won.”

The lightly-raced Levi’s Choice has started nine times but to date has only crossed the line first once when winning a 1400m two-year-olds maiden at Eagle Farm last May.

Thompson is hoping Levi’s Choice has matured and will show enough form early on in the Brisbane Carnival to warrant a start in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 11.

“Levi’s Choice is our best stayer and he and the others are all on the Queensland Derby Path,” Thompson said.

While the other feature on the Eagle Farm race card this weekend, the Group 2 Victory Stakes, only attracted seven final acceptances the Gunsynd Classic drew a capacity field of 18 starters plus two emergencies.

Thompson has Levi’s Choice (barrier nine), Hour Of Peril (barrier 20) and From London (barrier seven) as confirmed starters while Threatened Danger is the second of two emergencies for the mile feature.

Other in-form gallopers set to run in this year’s Gunsynd include the Liam Birchley-trained Snip ‘N’ Duck yet to finish outside the money in their five starts this year and due to be ridden by Shane Scriven from barrier 13, and Snippertson gelding Kiss Me Deadly drawn ideally in barrier three.

Meanwhile both Underthebonnet (barrier 11) and the Paul Messara-trained Chateau Fort (barrier four) are seeking their third win on the trot on Saturday.

Top local trainer Robert Heathcote is looking for a return to form from his Queensland Oaks hopeful Fillydelphia, while the fellow Eagle Farm-based Kelso Wood has stablemates Igles Star on the inside in barrier one and Man From Oz in gate eight.

Bianconi filly Fillydelphia, drawn in barrier 12 and set to be ridden by Larry Cassidy on Saturday, was outclassed when three lengths away 10th in a Listed race over 1350m at Doomben last start.

“She still got a prominent mention in the stewards report for being held up for a run and she wasn’t beaten that far (three lengths), I’d say she was just slightly off her game on the day,” Heathcote said.

Wood’s Igles Star comes off a close fourth beaten just over a length in the Listed BRC Queensland Day Plate (1350m) at Doomben on April 16 and is heading towards the Queensland Derby as is General Nediym gelding Man From Oz.

“They (Igles Star and Man From Oz) are both on the way to the Derby and they’ll both run against each other in the Rough Habit Plate,” Wood said.

“They’ll go to the Queensland Guineas if they show they can’t stay.”

The Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2020m) runs at Doomben on BTC Cup Day May 14 while the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) is scheduled on the same day as the Derby.

Of the two Igles Star is the pick for Wood based on their brave last start run.

“It was a terrific run and I think he can stay all day,” Wood said.

Wood was also confident Man From Oz would improve on their last start 10th over 1350m at Doomben when tightened for room in a Class 6 Plate with the step up to the mile on Saturday set to suit.

“I’m confident Man From Oz also will get over ground so hopefully they’ll head to the Derby.”

2011 James Squire Sundown Australian Lager Gunsynd Classic Final Field

# Form (Last 10) Horse Jockey Trainer Barrier Weight Hcp. Rating
1 X27928X215 SLICE AND DICE Liam Birchley Glen Colless 14 56kg 73
2 4645148X60 EQUISSENTIAL Neville O Saunders Phillip Wolfgram 18 56kg 69
3 0X21107324 GHOSTNTHEDARKNESS Michael Nolan Darren Gauci 10 56kg 72
4 X6511105X8 HOUR OF PERIL John P Thompson Jim Byrne 20 56kg 75
5 140211X700 CRAIGELLACHIE Kelly Doughty Matthew Palmer 6 56kg 70
6 5222X40724 IGLES STAR Kelso Wood Jason Taylor 1 56kg 67
7 1938X03X02 LEVI’S CHOICE John P Thompson Jim Cassidy 9 56kg 80
8 1080X22232 SNIP ’N’ DUCK Liam Birchley Shane Scriven 13 56kg
9 53X1237X97 ALTAI WARRIOR Gerald Ryan Ryan Wiggins 16 56kg 66
10 19X8272112 KISS ME DEADLY Rex Lipp Brad Stewart 3 56kg 68
11 9X21317X00 SATCH Bruce W Hill Paul Hammersley 19 56kg 66
12 4154441X10 PLAYACTION David Peoples Jason Holder 17 56kg 68
13 3X39711 UNDERTHEBONNET Steele Ryan Justin Wood (a) 11 56kg 66
14 150060X025 FROM LONDON John P Thompson Scott Galloway 7 56kg 65
15 51149X0 MAN FROM OZ Kelso Wood Chris Munce 8 56kg 67
16 3X11 CHATEAU FORT Paul Messara Damian Browne 4 56kg 66
17 2111L16X40 FILLYDELPHIA Robert Heathcote Larry Cassidy 12 54kg
18 08X8711X2 FORBIDDEN FRUIT Jason McLachlan Eddie Wilkinson 15 54kg 63
19e 5X621 LAUDIT John Symons & Sheila Laxon Scott Seamer 2 56kg 62
20e 8X717 THREATENED DANGER John P Thompson 5 56kg 60