Goulburn-based trainer Danny Williams has made the decision to scratch his Testa Rossa gelding Rambling On from this Saturday’s Ipswich Cup, but still holds high hopes for a win at the south-west Brisbane race meet.
Four-year-old Rambling On came up with a horror barrier 14 draw in the 15-horse field for the $200,000 Ipswich Cup (2150m) prompting connections to abandon plans to run the galloper in the feature.
“We were unlucky with the draw and the owners weren’t keen to run if we drew wide,” Williams explained.
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Rambling On most recently finished seven lengths away eighth behind Robert Heathcote’s winner Heartshaker in the Mittys Plate (1800m) at Eagle Farm on June 4, Williams saying the result didn’t reflect his horse’s ability.
“The horse has done very well since coming up north and probably should have finished a bit closer last start at Eagle Farm,” he said.
Rambling On was rated a $41 roughie to become this year’s Ipswich Cup winner, markets lead by New Zealand raider The Hombre at $4.20.
Williams still has two chances lining up on Ipswich Cup Day this Saturday with How Much My Love racing in the $175,000 Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) and Iking gaining a start as the first emergency in the $50,000 QTIS 2YO Handicap (1100m).
Of the two, Spartacus five-year-old How Much My Love is Williams’ favoured runner to perform on the weekend.
The gelding enjoyed a narrow win in the Wagga Town Plate (1200m) two starts back beating Kenny’s World by a nose on May 5.
At their last-start, however, How Much My Love failed to replicate the same form and could only manage to cross four and a half lengths back from Zippy Lou in the Bollinger Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on June 1.
“The horse has been in and out of form for the past six months and has been a bit difficult to place in races,” Williams said.
“He is a big striding horse that likes big roomy tracks and a firm surface.”
In the Doomben race How Much My Love had the bad luck of barrier 14 in the 16-starter showdown and Williams is confident that from gate three in the Eye Liner Stakes on Saturday the horse can bounce back.
While the ground is likely to suit the Wagga Town Cup winner tomorrow, the Ipswich track on the steady improve from the Slow (6) rating on Friday morning, Williams knows the pace will have to be on for How Much My Love to race at their best.
“Hopefully they will go really quick up front and he can sit back and get some room before finishing over the top of them,” he said.
“We think he can go well, we wouldn’t have started this type of horse at Ipswich which is a tight-turning track otherwise.”
How Much My Love will also benefit from a nice drop back in weights from 56kg last start to a more suitable 53kg for the Eye Liner, Scott Galloway engaged for the race taking over from Chad Schofield who was aboard for the two most recent runs.
“We held off naming a jockey until we saw what barrier we got because if we drew poorly we probably wouldn’t have run,” Williams said.
There are six Eye Liner Stakes hopefuls currently at single-figure odds to win on Saturday including narrow favourite the James Lyons-trained Drenalin, while How Much My Love is a $26 outsider in the markets.
Meanwhile, Williams’ Holy Roman Emperor two-year-old Iking is set to make their race debut at Ipswich having gained a start in Race 2 due to the early scratching of Wishbone Jack.
The juvenile is drawn ideally in barrier six and will be ridden by Michael Walker at 54kg.
“I was really hoping we could get a run with him having drawn so well,” Williams said in regards to Iking.
“He is still learning and all indications are he will make a better three-year-old as he doesn’t seem to be brilliant enough at the moment to say he will make a great two-year-old.
“The Holy Roman Emperor progeny have been a bit disappointing and I do think they will make better three-year-olds but he is out of a good staying family and we would like to give him few runs just to get the ball rolling.”
Williams travelled up the sunshine state this season not only for the warmer Queensland weather, but to try his hand at gaining some winter carnival glory.
“I wasn’t planning on coming up this year as I didn’t have any class runners to warrant coming here,” Williams admitted.
“But after the third minus eight morning in a row I changed my mind on things and relocated the whole team up here.”