Noted Eagle Farm trainer Brian Smith is remaining optimistic ahead of Saturday’s Queensland Cup clash where his six-year-old galloper Raeburn will look to break a seven-race winning drought.
Danehill Dancer gelding Raeburn was last seen in the winner’s stall back on Boxing Day last year when they won the Sky Racing Handicap (2200m), which gave the stayer three Doomben wins on the trot.
After a well-deserved three month break, Raeburn returned in April of this year but has failed to produce a top three finish in his seven runs so far and has also failed to impress his trainer Smith with the way he has hit the line at the end of his races.
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“I’m just worried that he’s not showing the same turn of foot this preparation,” Smith said.
A handy, well-tried runner with 51 career starts for eight wins and 13 minor placings to their credit, Raeburn has been following the same Sunshine State winter Cups campaign as the Michael Moroney-trained Tinseltown.
Tinseltown is the $3 favourite for the $150,000 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday following their eye-catching third behind Spechenka and Gold In Dubai in the Caloundra Cup last Saturday.
Raeburn was also there for the Caloundra Cup clash, the Scott Galloway-ridden runner finishing one behind Tinseltown in fourth place and now sitting one below Tinseltown in Queensland Cup betting at $3.90.
It was the best finish of Raeburn’s winter campaign, that has almost followed Tinseltown’s run-for-run.
Staring from May 28, Raeburn has finished sixth in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m) at Doomben, seventh in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm, fifth in the Group 3 Tatt’s Cup (2200m) and then their game Caloundra Cup fourth beaten one and a quarter lengths.
Tinseltown’s three-cup winter crusade to date reads second in the Premier’s Cup, sixth in the Brisbane Cup and then third at Caloundra, the rising eight-year-old bypassing only the Tatt’s Cup at Eagle Farm on June 25.
Saturday then could possibly be Raeburn’s chance to turn the tables on the horse that continues to go just one or two better than him.
With Premier’s Cup winner Shuffle The Cash, Brisbane Cup victor Tullamore, Tatt’s Cup champion Ironstein and Caloundra Cup conqueror Spechenka all non-acceptors for the 2011 Queensland Cup field, Raeburn comes right into contention.
“He deserves to win a race because he keeps running on and wasn’t far away last week,” Smith said.
In Raeburn’s favour this weekend is the generous weight the handicap conditions give him over 58kg top-weight Tinseltown, Smith’s starter set to carry the 53kg minimum with regular rider Galloway continuing his association.
Although Raeburn has drawn slightly awkwardly in barrier 10 of 17, he did manage his Caloundra Cup fourth from a double-digit gate and over the lengthy 3200 metres of the Queensland Cup, there is plenty of time for him to make up ground.
The two-mile distance, however, is also an unknown for Raeburn who has only been tested up to 2400 metres to date.
“The Caloundra Cup is always the best guide for this race so that’s in his favour,” Smith said optimistically.