After star interstate raiders Black Caviar and Hay List ran the quinella in the opening Group 1 race of the Brisbane Winter Carnival last Saturday, Gold Coast trainer John Wallace is hoping for some local luck in the Doomben Cup this weekend with Shoot Out.
The final field for Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2020m) will be released tomorrow.
The current classy list of contenders, however, is saturated with both interstate and overseas raiders.
Shoot Out is just one of two Queensland-trained horses along with Bevan Laming’s Crossthestart vying for Doomben Cup glory.
Pre-field Doomben Cup odds are lead by European imports Glass Harmonium ($4) and My Kingdom Of Fife ($4.20).
On the third line of betting lies Shoot Out paying $6.50 to keep the Doomben Cup trophy in the sunshine state on Saturday.
Michael Moroney’s Verglas five-year-old Glass Harmonium made a stunning Australian race debut last start when beaten less than half a length by My Kingdom Of Fife in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on the Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, the Chris Waller-trained My Kingdom Of Fife will seek to keep their unbeaten record in Australia intact having won all three of their starts here to date including a Group 1 in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April.
Still, Wallace remains confident heading towards Saturday that AJC Derby winner Shoot Out will be able to salute for the Maroons in the Cup.
The High Chaparral four-year-old hasn’t won since their Group 2 success in last August’s JJ Liston Stakes at Caulfield.
This year Shoot Out has had three starts.
He failed to come within 11 lengths of the brilliant Black Caviar in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 9 and then was five lengths away fifth to Hay List in another elite level assignment, the All Aged Stakes on April 23.
Last start Shoot Out showed improvement when running an unlucky fifth in the Hollindale Stakes.
It was a game run, and Wallace has high hopes that Shoot Out will completely close the gap on his rivals in the Doomben Cup.
“He got stopped a couple of times in the straight last start and probably should have finished second,” Wallace said of the Hollindale run.
“He really isn’t suited on the (Gold Coast) track and doesn’t like it.
“He never really got wound up last start.
“I think the other horses probably had a little fitness edge last time as well because it was only his third run from a spell, but I think he would have narrowed that gap by Saturday.”
Wallace admits that the Doomben Cup has been the main winter aim for Shoot Out all along.
“This has been the race we targeted because it is a group one up here and it would be nice for him to knock it off,” he said.
On Saturday Shoot Out will again be ridden by Corey Brown, who has been aboard for the gelding’s past six starts.
In a bid to give Shoot Out the upper hand, Wallace has made a few small adjustments to their gear for the Doomben Cup.
“I have tinkered with his gear a bit and the winkers are worth a try,” Wallace said.
“He has been working good in them and they allow him to see that little bit more.
“I have no doubt he is still improving and he probably doesn’t need the blinkers now.
“He is more relaxed and it will take a good one to beat him.”
Also among the Doomben Cup entries this year are Kiwi gallopers Firebolt and The Hombre.
The Roger James-trained Firebolt was disappointing last Saturday when 10th to the Robert Heathcote-trained Humma in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2020m) on BTC Cup Day.
Four-year-old Lucky Owners gelding The Hombre, meanwhile, will line-up for trainer John Bary who is out for another Group 1 here after Jimmy Choux’s success in the Rosehill Guineas during the autumn.
The Hombre has been in Brisbane for a fortnight preparing for Saturday, but Bary is not 100 per cent confident his horse can beat the top-class field.
“He would have to run the perfect race to beat this lot,” Bary said.