This Saturday’s Doomben Cup Day is the moment of truth for Magic Millions-winning trainer, the Gold Coast-based Gillian Heinrich, as she prepares to make the final call on the Brisbane Winter Carnival campaigns of her stable stars.
Heinrich, who enjoyed success in the 2010 Magic Millions 2YO Classic with her classy young filly Military Rose, will saddle up six of her horses at Doomben this Saturday including Military Rose.
A daughter of great Aussie sire General Nediym, Military Rose burst onto the racing scene in the spring and summer season of 2009-10 winning her opening five starts including back-to-back Listed races in Brisbane and the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic at the Gold Coast.
After a disappointing spring, Military Rose was bought back in March of this year where she ran second last first-up in the Listed Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill before returning to form at her home track to take out the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) in fine style.
Heinrich is hoping Military Rose can continue her resurgence by winning the $125,000 Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday and earn a shot at Group 1 glory in the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm next month.
Saturday will be the $1.6 million earner’s first start over a distance greater than 1200m.
“This is her first shot past 1200 metres and I’ll know whether she’s just a 1200-metre horse,” Heinrich said of Military Rose.
The three-year-old is currently sitting as a $16 chance for the Fred Best, markets lead by $4.20 favourite Ready to Rip despite their horror barrier 20 draw.
“She’s brilliant over 1200 metres but we’ll know whether she can push it out further,” Heinrich said.
“If she does then it will open a few doors including the Stradbroke.”
Military Rose also sits as an outsider in the early Stradbroke Handicap odds paying $51 to upset the likes of Sincero ($4.20) and Hay List ($5.50).
Along with Military Rose, Heinrich’s other top starters in the Doomben Cup Day features this weekend include emerging two-year-olds Internal Revenue and Military Grace in the $175,000 Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m), and Swiss Rose and Sweepstaking in the $150,000 Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m).
In the Champagne Classic, Heinrich has found it hard to separate the chances of Exceed And Excel colt Internal Revenue and General Nediym filly Military Grace.
Internal Revenue, drawn ideally in barrier three and to be ridden by Chris Munce, is paying $21 in the markets for their first-up run since finishing dead last in this year’s Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
Despite their failure back in January, Heinrich saw good form from the colt when Internal Revenue blitzed an 1100m barrier trial on May 10 at Eagle Farm by an emphatic eight lengths after Heinrich removed his blinkers for the first time.
Military Grace was also below par in the Magic Millions finishing 14th of 16 runners after earlier winning successive stakes races in Brisbane back in December.
On Saturday Military Grace will jump from barrier four in the Champagne with Daniel Griffin in the mount and sits as a $17 chance in the current odds.
“They’re both headed for the Sires Produce and TJ Smith but whether they go there depends on how they go on Saturday,” Heinrich said of her Champagne Classic starters.
The Group 2 BRC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) runs at Eagle Farm on June 4 followed by the premier juvenile showdown of the Queensland Winter Carnival, the Group 1 The TJ Smith (1600m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 11.
“I would have said Military Grace was my pick for this race (the Champagne Classic) before they barrier trialled but Internal Revenue went so well without the blinkers on I couldn’t split them.”
Military Grace also won her hit-out but only just, the filly finishing a mere nose from her competition.
“I only put the blinkers on Internal Revenue last campaign because he’d been a bit green and tardy out of the barriers,” Heinrich continued.
“Chris Munce rode both of them last campaign and had the choice for the Magic Millions and chose him (Internal Revenue).
“He’s sticking with him again while Danny Griffin is riding Military Grace.”
The sixth starter for Heinrich on Saturday is seven-year-old Ghetto Blaster who will look to show their Stradbroke Handicap potential when racing in the $50,000 Act For Kids Handicap (1200m).