Last Saturday’s Caloundra Cup winner Spechenka the surprise nominee for this weekend’s Queensland Cup, trainer Ben Ahrens entering the in-form galloper for the Eagle Farm feature despite earlier suggestions he would bypass the race.
Danachenka five-year-old Spechenka showed a remarkable form turnaround, bouncing back from their distant seventh to Gold In Dubai in the Ipswich Cup last month to turn the tables and take out the Caloundra Cup in a gritty finish from their last-start conqueror.
After the big Caloundra win, Ahrens named Thursday week’s $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) as the next target for the now $370,000 earner.
However, Beaudesert horseman Ahrens made a shock decision to enter Spechenka for this Saturday’s $150,000 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) in case his horse pulled up superbly from the Caloundra Cup and a stint at back-to-back wins within a week became viable.
“He seems to have come through the run very well but I won’t really know until we get on his back on Tuesday and give him a bit of a gallop,” Ahrens said in regards to how his dual stakes winner had come through the Cup win.
Spechenka was one of 20 Queensland Cup nominations this year along with the likes of the Michael Moroney-trained Tinseltown and Brian Smith’s Raeburn who finished third and fourth respectively in the Caloundra Cup, but Ahrens said his final acceptance was far from a certainty.
“At this stage I would say it’s pretty unlikely he would start but I’m not ruling it out all together,” Ahrens said.
“Basically we’ve just thrown him in to see what happens.
“If he pulled up extremely well from Saturday’s run it would give me another option but I’m inclined to stick with the original plan and head to the Grafton Cup.”
Going against a Queensland Cup start for Spechenka is the testing two-mile distance of the genuine stayer’s showdown.
Over their 28-start career to date, the 2400 metres of the Caloundra Cup is the longest distance Spechenka has been tried at and Ahrens is sceptical to push them a further 800 metres so quickly.
“Asking him to go to 3200 metres might be too much because he got to 2400 metres pretty quickly,” he said.
2011 Queensland Cup Nominations
|1||BAGGS IT||David Scanes||–|
|2||BEARTRACKER (NZ)||Bradley Herne||–|
|3||BUNDEEBEAR||Aiden & Kane St Vincent||68|
|5||FAMOUS FORTUNE||Lyn Paton||61|
|6||JEDI STARFIGHTER||Trevor Thomas||71|
|7||MAJESTIC SIGHT||David Scanes||68|
|9||MISS MARTIKA (NZ)||Wayne Walters||72|
|10||PERSIAN STAR||Robert Smerdon||95|
|11||PREACHER BOY||Roger Milne||68|
|13||RAMBLING ON (NZ)||Danny Williams||67|
|14||RUN FOR LAYLA||John P Thompson||–|
|15||SANCY DIAMOND||Peter Hulbert||62|
|16||SMOKING CHIMNEYS (NZ)||David Haworth||86|
|18||TINSELTOWN (NZ)||Michael Moroney||100|
|19||ZADANE||Bruce W Hill||56|
|20||ZAMAN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||62|