Darryl Hansen’s resuming Ascot Handicap winner Essington has opened the narrow favourite to return to the winner’s stall at Eagle Farm this Saturday and win the Keith Noud Quality Handicap 2011.
The consistently performing Redoute’s Choice five-year-old who hails from Mackay will race first-up in the $100,000 Listed Keith Noud Quality Handicap (1200m), Essington last seen taking out the Ascot Handicap at the track back on July 9 during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Prior to their Ascot Handicap success Essington was first over the line in the Rockhampton Newmarket Handicap on June 23, but was disqualified after returning a positive swab.
Hansen was subsequently disqualified from training for six months for this incident and another similar, and is currently working under a stay of proceedings as he awaits the result of appeals he has put forward to the Queensland Council and Administrative Tribunal.
Despite the drama, Hansen has his attention firmly focused on Essington’s Brisbane Summer Series campaign starting with the Keith Noud Quality Handicap this Saturday.
“He’s ready to go,” Hansen said of Essington.
“He’s been in work for about 10 weeks and looks terrific.
“There’s no reason why he won’t run well first-up and he’s muscled up a lot since his last campaign.”
It seems the bookies and the punters agree, Essington sitting as the $4 favourite in the Keith Noud Quality Handicap odds at Luxbet.
There are some queries, however, as their price has drifted out from their opening $3.70 odds.
If all goes to plan over the coming months then Hansen will set Essington on the path towards the 2012 Stradbroke Handicap, Queensland’s richest race to run at Eagle Farm on July 9.
“He’ll run in the summer series then he’ll be freshened for the Brisbane Winter Carnival,” Hansen said.
“I’d love to think he could be a decent Stradbroke chance for next year.”
Originally drawn in barrier 10 of the 13-horse field, Essington moves into barrier nine after the early scratching of Robert Heathcote’s last-start Eagle Farm winner Work The Room.
Work The Room was one of the top fancies for the race installed as a $7 chance prior to their withdrawal.
Close second elect in the Keith Noud betting at Luxbet is Belltone at a quote of $4.20.
Kelso Wood’s Brahms six-year-old, who had a stunning winter season winning six of their seven starts, also comes into the race fresh off a decent break having last raced at Doomben on September 10 when winning the Brand & Slater Handicap (1350m).
Belltone reunites with jockey Chris Munce for Saturday, the pair to jump from barrier five.
Munce’s decision to ride Belltone in the feature has seen Damian Browne booked to ride the favourite Essington for the first time, Munce being the regular rider for both Essington and Belltone.
There are three other gallopers at single figure odds to win with Andrew Williamson’s More Than Ready four-year-old Ready To Rip ($6.50 Luxbet), the Tony Gollan-trained Spirit Of Boom ($7.50 Luxbet) and Heathcote’s sole remaining hopeful Excellantes ($8.50 Luxbet).
Sequalo four-year-old Spirit Of Boom, one of two chances for Toowoomba-based horseman Gollan along with Listen Son ($15 Luxbet), is out to stake their claims for an overseas assignment to New Zealand for the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
Last seen running a credible fifth in the Listed MSS Security Sprint (1200m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day, Spirit Of Boom looks to break a 10-month drought with their last victory being in the XXX Gold Handicap (1200m) at Eagle Farm back on January 26.
After Saturday Spirit Of Boom is scheduled to run in the $200,000 Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 4, after which a decision on whether to press onto the Railway Stakes will be made.
“If he wins the George Moore or runs a big race he’ll more than likely go to New Zealand for those two Group Ones,” Gollan said.
The other elite level Gollan refers to being the Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on January 21.
The predicted rain in Brisbane does concern Gollan in regards to Listen Son, but Spirit Of Boom has proven wet track form making the pick of the pair.
“Listen Son doesn’t need to run and can wait until the George Moore but he definitely won’t start if the rain that has been forecast arrives,” he said.
“Spirit Of Boom is going good and can handle the wet and will start if the track gets to slow but not if it’s heavy.”
Below are the latest 2011 Keith Noud Quality Handicap odds courtesy of Luxbet.
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2011 Keith Noud Quality Handicap Odds
Eagle Farm Race 7 – 26/11/2011
|1||POOR JUDGE (6)||26.00 Luxbet|
|2||ESSINGTON (9)||4.00 Luxbet|
|3||SHUFFLE THE CASH (3)||101.00 Luxbet|
|4||LISTEN SON (1)||15.00 Luxbet|
|5||TIERQUALO (4)||17.00 Luxbet|
|6||LUCKY LUNA (12)||51.00 Luxbet|
|7||OLLIE VOLLIE (2)||51.00 Luxbet|
|8||WORK THE ROOM (7)||–|
|9||FASTER SON (7)||19.00 Luxbet|
|10||EXCELLANTES (11)||8.50 Luxbet|
|11||BELLTONE (5)||4.20 Luxbet|
|12||READY TO RIP (10)||6.50 Luxbet|
|13||SPIRIT OF BOOM (8)||7.50 Luxbet|
*Fixed Win Odds provided by Luxbet and correct at time of publication