The main races at Doomben and Eagle farm are over for another year but that certainly doesn’t mean there’s no interest left in racing around south-east Queensland.
In fact the next month or so is crucial for many owners and trainers as they look to test out their chargers and see what promise they show for the future.
For some it could mean a trip to the spring or summer carnivals down south this year and for others it could mean a propulsion to the main events in Brisbane next year, but either way there are plenty of important races coming up.
It’s not just the small stables with an interest either, Michael Moroney is one who is using this period as a real testing ground for his stable.
No horse is more keenly anticipated than Shenzhou Steeds, a New Zealand import just starting out in Australia.
In his debut run last start he blitzed the field on the Sunshine Coast and won by nearly five lengths.
He’s been thrown straight into city class and will run at Doomben in the Darley Australia Handicap tomorrow.
The main goal for this prep is a start in the Sunshine Coast Guineas, a win there would open up a world of options for his future seasons.
“He’ll probably need to win this race tomorrow to get into the Guineas field,” Moroney said.
“It’s a big jump in class for him but his form in New Zealand was good and he’s a nice horse on the way up.
“He’s been over the distance before in New Zealand and he should be hard to beat.”
Michael’s brother Paul was the scout who found Shenzhou Steeds in New Zealand where he was running for trainer Tony Pike out of Cambridge.
“Paul spotted him the day he won his maiden a couple of months ago and we thought then he was was good enough to bring over here,” Moroney said.
He sees him as a big stakes prospect but won’t be rushing him unless he shows he’s up for it.
“We think he’ll make a nice stayer later on and I haven’t ruled out giving him a chance in the spring in Melbourne.
“But it’s more likely he’ll spell up here and get ready for the summer races in Melbourne.”
Shenzhou Steeds is one of 14 horses still in work at Moroney’s Caloundra base and there are a couple of big names which are still plugging along as well.
“I won’t have an Ipswich Cup runner on Saturday but I’ve got Viking Hero getting ready for the Tatt’s Cup and Tinseltown for the Caloundra Cup,” he said.