Gallant Toowoomba-trained galloper Bold Glance has the chance to push his trainer Norm Hilton into the Brisbane racing history books by claiming a huge upset win in Saturday’s $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
Sequalo gelding Bold Glance is a $21 outsider in the Stradbroke Handicap markets, the rising six-year-old facing a tough task of defeating a crack field of sprinters after drawing disastrously with barrier 21.
Even with the five Stradbroke Handicap emergencies getting scratched, Bold Glance will only come into gate 16 of 18, jockey Scott Seamer still with plenty of work to do in either scenario.
Having started 29 times to date for eight wins and 10 minor placings, Bold Glance has had six runs this year showing form enough to earn their spot in Queensland’s most lucrative sprint.
A consistent sprinter-miler, Bold Glance enjoyed a win over the Stradbroke Handicap 1400m distance back in January when successful in the $400,000 Magic Million Cup on the Gold Coast.
Another Gold Coast success came two starts later, the galloper saluting in the Carbine Club Stakes (1200m) in March before twice placing at Group level in Sydney.
Running a brave third, beaten just three quarters of a length by winner My Kingdom Of Fife, in the Group 3 Doncaster Mile Prelude (1600m) on April 9, Bold Glance went on to place third in the elite level main event at their next start behind Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Choice.
Travelling back to Queensland last month, Bold Glance was disappointing when a wide gate 14 start and hefty 58kg weight got the better of him in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 21.
In the BRC Sprint Bold Glance could only manage to finish four and a half lengths away behind fellow Stradbroke hopeful Woorim.
Hilton, however, remains hopeful that Bold Glance will have benefited from the run and back to 1400m on Saturday will race competitively in the Stradbroke.
“He’s a horse who has got better with maturity, and we always thought this would be his best year,” Hilton said.
“The Stradbroke is a race we’ve always had in mind for him and I’m happy with how he’s done.
“He’s a horse that always tries his guts out, and that’s probably his greatest asset.”
Bold Glance is one of two runners in this year’s Stradbroke Handicap showdown given the chance to break a nearly four decade drought for Toowoomba-trained horses in the classic feature.
The Norm Higgins-trained Lucky Cloud was the last horse from the Darling Downs to win the Stradbroke way back in 1973.
Tony Gollan’s in-form four-year-old Listen Son, with the inside alley, is the other Toowoomba hopeful in tomorrow’s race.
Listen Son is rated a $31 roughie despite having raced competitively when beaten a half-head by Woorim in the BRC Sprint before their last-start fourth behind Varenna Miss in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) last Saturday.
Gollan is keeping his chin up heading into Stradbroke, happy just to have made the field and be there representing Toowoomba.
“I think it’s tremendous that Toowoomba has two Stradbroke runners going around on Saturday,” Gollan said.
“A lot of people mightn’t realise what an achievement it is for horses to get to this level.
“I think for most Queenslanders this is the race they want to be a part of and to win a Stradbroke would rate alongside a Melbourne Cup for me.”
Despite drawing barrier one and showing plenty of heart over their career, Gollan knows Listen Son will be reaching the limits of his ability facing the likes of Doomben 10,000 winner Beaded over the 1400m in the Straddie.
“Listen Son has been able to gain a start for us, but we’ve never thought he’d be in the race purely to make up the numbers,” Gollan said.
“He’ll be tested to the max, but he’s drawn a good alley, is unbeaten over the Eagle Farm 1400m and we don’t expect him to shirk the task.
“He’s a great trier.”