Classy Stradbroke Handicap third-placegetter Zero Rock may be Kelso Wood’s sole runner at Eagle Farm this Saturday, but the top local trainer has a number of other promising runners getting around this Winter Carnival.
Wood will give his five-year-old Danzero mare the chance to turn the tables on Peter Snowden’s Doomben 10,000 champion Beaded, who beat Zero Rock when finishing one better in the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap last start, as the two face off again in the final Group 1 race of the season this Saturday – the $500,000 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m).
Zero Rock suffered an early blow to her Tiara claims when drawing widely with barrier 10 of 15, the 10th time in 24 starts and fourth consecutively she has drawn a double-digit gate, while favourite Beaded was blessed with an ideal gate three start.
There has still been plenty of support for Wood’s outsider, however, including the confidence of her jockey Chris Munce.
“If my mare had drawn a nice gate she would have stuck it to her (Beaded), don’t worry about that,” Munce said.
“She’s had no luck with barriers all prep, but she’s racing in career best form.
“She never runs badly and puts in 110 per cent all the time.
“She will follow Steps In Time (barrier nine) and hopefully I can get in second or third with cover.”
Beyond Saturday Wood still has plenty of other Queensland winter riches on his radar including next month’s $175,000 Listed Glasshouse Handicap (1400m) with one of the most notable horses in his stable, rising nine-year-old Anyways.
One of the feature races running at the Sunshine Coast’s Caloundra Cup Day on Saturday July 2, the Glasshouse Handicap is already shaping up as a scintillating showdown with Robert Heathcote’s reigning champion Woorim confirmed to return and defend his title.
A horse out to stop Woorim from posting back-to-back wins in the race is veteran galloper Anyways.
Last Saturday the Archway gelding had the unluckiest of runs in the $175,000 Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich.
After jumping from the inside alley, Archway was badly blocked for a run throughout and did an incredible job to finish eighth beaten two lengths by dual winner and fellow Glasshouse Handicap-bound Adnocon in the race.
Wood knows that if he’d had a clear run, Archway would have been hard to beat in the Eye Liner and is likely to back the brave sprinter up in the Glasshouse Handicap where he would get the chance to turn the tables on Eye Liner winner Adnocon.
“He had no luck and no clear running,” Wood said.
“He’ll be right in the finish (in the Glasshouse) because he can get to the line.”
Wood picked Anyways up as a tried runner last winter and has successfully been able to rejuvenate the career of the old warhorse.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong,” Wood said.
“He had a bit of feet problems when we turned home out last time but now he’s going really good.
“If the Ascot Handicap (Listed Eagle Farm Race on July 9) was still 1400 metres I’d be going to that…but he’s got to come back to 1200 for that so I’ll probably go the Glasshouse.”