Randwick horseman Pat Webster is hoping the forecast good weather in Queensland tomorrow can help him collect a black-type double at the Gold Coast’s Prime Minister’s Cup meeting.
Webster, who co-trains a team of quality runners in partnership with his son Wayne, has three-year-old filly I Walk The Line running in the $125,000 Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) while stable forerunner and promising sprinter Thankgodyou’rehere will contest one of the day’s marquee events, the $175,000 Listed Prime Ministers Cup (1300m).
Of the duo, the ultra consistent Secret Savings five-year-old Thankgodyou’rehere looks Webster’s best chance of success tomorrow.
The gelding boasts an excellent career rate of seven wins from 12 starts, all in Sydney so far, including a Group 3 victory in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) last November.
Lightly-raced for a rising six-year-old, Thankgodyou’rehere has had to work through ongoing problems over his career.
“This horse has the motor of a V8 Supercar but hasn’t got the body to cope with it,” Webster said.
“He has had chronic problems.
“His training has got to be policed properly, he has never worked hard and never will.
“You think he his short of a gallop but I’ve learnt to take a deep breath and trust my instincts.
“You’ve got to give him enough work without doing too much and that’s the hard part.”
Despite all of that, Webster’s son Wayne still trusts Thankgodyou’rehere’s ability.
“You give me a good 3 track at Randwick and 1400 metres and I’d race him against any horse in Australia,” he said.
“He is a real good horse.”
First up for the season Thankgodyou’rehere ran a gallant second to Atomic Force in his maiden elite level assignment, the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Randwick on April 16.
Tomorrow the horse is set to line up in barrier 16, moving into 13 if the three emergencies don’t gain a start, in the capacity Prime Minister’s Cup field.
With regular rider Rod Quinn engaged for the ride, Thankgodyou’rehere is the clear $3.80 favourite to win followed by Con Karakatsanis’s The Galaxy fourth placegetter News Alert at $6.50.
Although slightly disheartened over the wide draw, Webster’s outlook improved with the Gold Coast track steadily firming after heavy rain soaked the surface last week.
“We’ve been saddled with the ‘visitor’s alley’ on Saturday, but there’s not much we can do about that,” Webster said.
“I’m not sure what we’ll do from the barrier with God and it’s probably best to ask his rider, Rod Quinn.”
Gold Coast Turf Club track manager Steve Andrews is confident that the track rated a Heavy (8) on Thursday would improve to Dead by Saturday.
“There’s good weather forecast for the next few days and we had a good, breezy day today (Thursday), so I reckon we could be back to a Dead (5) by Saturday,” Andrews said.
While Webster is adamant I Walk The Line can and would handle any track condition, he was praying for a firmer course for Thankgodyou’rehere as he believes the horse could have won his resuming run in The Galaxy was it not for the Heavy Randwick track that day.
“He had trialled really well the Monday before the Galaxy, so we thought we’d give him his chance in that Group One,” Webster said.
“I was going to send him to Queensland for the Victory Stakes last week but after he trialled so well at Randwick we threw in a nomination and ran him in The Galaxy.
“It was a heavy track for The Galaxy and even though he had failed on a heavy track before I had a gut feeling he would run well.
“He ran very well in the heavy conditions, but there’s no doubt in my mind if the track had been better he wouldn’t have run second, he’d have bolted in.
“That run took a little bit out of him, but he’s now had three weeks between runs.”
Webster has mapped out a Brisbane Winter Carnival campaign for Thankgodyou’rehere specifically aimed at getting him into the Group 1 spotlight again for the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
After the PM’s Cup on Saturday, Thankgodyou’rehere will run in the $125,000 Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 21 as a stepping stone to the Stradbroke showdown.
Currently Thankgodyou’rehere is rated as a $16 chance in the pre-field Stradbroke Handicap odds lead by likely non-acceptor Black Caviar ($4.40), the world’s fastest horse, and impressive young Wyong galloper Sincero ($4.80) unbeaten in five.
As for Webster’s other rep at the Gold Coast winter race day tomorrow, I Walk The Line has drawn ideally in barrier five for the three-year-old fillies showdown that has also attracted a full field of 14 starters plus five emergencies.
The daughter of Conatus from Timber Country mare Country Step travelled to Brisbane last December where she was able to score an emphatic five and a half length victory in the Mount Franklin 3YO Handicap (2020m) at Doomben and Webster is hoping for a similar performance from I Walk The Line tomorrow.
“This is Thankgodyou’rehere’s first trip away from home and I don’t think he likes it too much, but the filly has settled in perfectly,” Webster said.
She is also being aimed at a Group 1 finale at the winter carnival with Webster nominating I Walk The Line for the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 4, for which she is the $10 fourth favourite in the early markets.
“She’s taking the traditional route to the Queensland Oaks and will run next in the Doomben Roses (Group 3 on May 21),” Webster said.
“She wasn’t showing any form until I put blinkers on her after she was beaten at Newcastle in a maiden last November.
“The track won’t worry as she loves the wet.”
2011 Carlton Draught Prime Minister’s Cup Field & Barriers
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||318013X680||CAPTAIN SONADOR||Roger Milne||Damian Browne||4||59kg||109|
|2||1X17X79524||NEWS ALERT||Con Karakatsanis||Hugh Bowman||5||57kg||105|
|3||8X18X1727X||RIGHTFULLY YOURS||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||1||57kg||105|
|4||1X1X1211X2||THANKGODYOU’REHERE||Patrick & Wayne Webster||Rod Quinn||16||56kg||102|
|5||X124711115||LUCKY LEAK||Patrick Sexton||Tim Clark||17||55kg||100|
|6||0X7368213X||LUCKY LUNA||Les Kelly||Joe Bowditch||19||54kg||98|
|7||41X76640X2||SAINTHOOD||Rick Worthington||Jim Cassidy||7||53.5kg||97|
|8||X8331835X3||TAGUS||John P Thompson||–||2||53.5kg||97|
|9||6X6170X780||INFORMALITY||Alicia Willick||Jim Byrne||13||53kg||95|
|10||41X11228X2||LISTEN SON||Tony Gollan||Corey Brown||18||53kg||95|
|11||0X1113X168||TAMPIKO||Peter G Moody||Chris Munce||11||53kg||94|
|12||1X111X6072||FASTER SON||Trevor Bailey||Ric McMahon||10||53kg||93|
|13||00X11111X6||MEET GEORGE||Brian Smith||Scott Galloway||15||53kg||93|
|14||X02605X115||ABSENT FRIENDS||Lawrie Mayfield-Smith||Larry Cassidy||9||53kg||92|
|15||44X945008X||FIFTEEN CARAT||Howard Wilson||Timothy Bell (a)||8||53kg||91|
|16||59X5072445||RED SPHERE||John Morrisey||Eddie Wilkinson||14||53kg||90|
|17e||98X6428328||EIRE OF MAGIC||David Kelly||Matthew Palmer||12||53kg||88|
|18e||031X5232X7||BLAZING HEARTS||Danny J Bougoure||–||3||53kg||88|
|19e||3X11138X21||METALLURGICAL||John P Thompson||–||6||53kg||81|