The upcoming Sunshine Coast Guineas has been named as the next target for the Kelly Schweida-trained Epic after the well-bred colt broke a five-race losing streak with a gritty victory on Ipswich Cup Day last Saturday.
Stratum three-year-old Epic hadn’t been in the winner’s stall since their smart three length victory at Doomben back on January 19, but they enjoyed a form turnaround at Ipswich on Saturday winning the $50,000 T.L. Cooney Handicap (1350m).
Ridden by ace hoop Chris Munce, Epic ($5.50) held off a brave challenge by the Robert Heathcote-trained Fire Up Fifi ($21) to win the provincial feature by a neck while $3.30 favourite The Ringmaster was the same length away third in a blanket finish.
Epic has now won two of their 11 starts for close to $63,000 in career prize money and will look to add to this record in a fortnight when they line-up in the $100,000 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) on Caloundra Cup Day, July 2.
The T.L. Cooney Handicap win saw Schweida and Munce atone for their earlier loss in the Queensland Times Provincial Cup Handicap (2150m) on Ipswich Cup Day when odds-on favourite Grey Assignment was beaten in the final-stride by $41 roughie Glow Heart.
Having enjoyed the step-up in distance from 1200m to 1350m on Saturday, Schweida is sure Epic will be even more competitive when they go up to the mile for the first time in the Sunshine Coast Guineas.
“All he wanted to do was wind up,” Schweida said of Epic on Saturday.
“I thought the 1350m might be a bit sharp for him.
“A race like the Caloundra (Sunshine Coast) Guineas will be a nice race.
“I thought it was a good effort.
“He’s a lovely looking individual and very easy to train for a colt.”
Munce, who was aboard Epic for the fourth time for the Ipswich win, also supported the notion the colt would be well-suited to the Guineas run.
“He was probably travelling a bit too good, getting up on his heels a bit and then when they all sprayed on the bend, he was left a bit flat-footed, but he showed a bit of fight and hit the line really well,” Munce said.
“Going to 1600m is probably not a bad idea.
“The bigger track at Caloundra is going to suit him, this track (Ipswich) might have revved him up a little bit but it was a good effort.”
Another Sunshine Coast Guineas-bound galloper is the Michael Moroney-trained Shenzhou Steeds who has enjoyed back-to-back wins in Queensland this month.
After a massive five length winning effort in a 1400m handicap at Caloundra on June 5, Ishiguru gelding Shenzhou Steeds backed up with a narrow victory in the Darley Australia Handicap (1615m) at Doomben on June 15 earning them a shot at black-type glory in the upcoming Guineas.
“We think he’ll make a nice stayer late on and I haven’t ruled out giving him a chance in the spring in Melbourne,” Moroney said.