James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
Caulfield-based trainer Mick Price on Thursday afternoon informed Racing Queensland stewards that his progressive Encosta De Lago colt Echoes Of Heaven would not be accepted for Saturday week’s $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
Price has decided to send three-year-old Echoes Of Heaven to the paddock for a spell ahead of the spring instead of progressing on to contest the Eagle Farm classic on Stradbroke Handicap Day.
After running a game second to Shadows In The Sun in the Group 1 SA Derby (2500m) on May 8, most recently Echoes Of Heaven ran the ideal Queensland Derby trial when finishing less than a length away fifth to winner Turnitup in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben last Saturday.
Despite that strong run and the fact Echoes Of Heaven was well-fancied in the Queensland Derby odds paying $8 to upset $6 favourite Shootoff, Price believes the colt has come to the end of his preparation.
Price will now be without a runner in this year’s Derby, but there’s still a chance his Show A Heart six-year-old Rightfully Yours will start in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Rightfully Yours, who last finished a well-beaten 13th to Tampiko in the Listed Prime Minister’s Cup (1300m) at the Gold Coast on May 7 when blocked for a run, enjoyed a winning barrier trial at Doomben last week and is engaged to race at Eagle Farm this Saturday.
Accepted for the $175,000 Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m), Rightfully Yours is already guaranteed a spot in the Stradbroke field sitting 13th on the order of entry and as such does not need the ballot exemption into the million dollar sprint on offer to the QTC Cup winner.
Drawn wide in barrier 15, however, and now the top-weight of the field with 56.5kg following the early withdrawal of the Peter Snowden-trained Pinwheel, Rightfully Yours faces a tough test on Saturday on way to the Straddie.
Rightfully Yours is a $21 outsider for the QTC Cup and is at even longer odds paying $81 in the latest Stradbroke Handicap odds.
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