Powerful front-runner Howmuchdoyouloveme will be out to keep an unbeaten Queensland alive when he jumps from barrier 13 in the Group 3 2013 Healy Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The four-year-old is one of 13 horses set to line up in the $175,000 sprint and he heads there in good form.
Howmuchdoyouloveme reaffirmed his love for the sunshine state on June 8 when he thundered home to win the Lightning Handicap by two lengths at Eagle Farm.
The Written Tycoon gelding is unbeaten in Queensland, having also won two races in Brisbane last winter.
Among those Howmuchdoyouloveme will have to overcome this weekend are a trio of gallopers from the stable of Queensland’s leading trainer Robert Heathcote.
Heathcote has accepted with Funtantes, Gundy Son and Griffon. Of the three, Griffon probably has the best lead-up form, having produced strong finishes to run in the top four in three starts this winter.
Another horse who will be out to turn solid performances into victory this weekend is Chris Waller’s sprinter Riva De Lago. The five-year-old has run second in his past three outings including the Group 2 Ajax Stakes and the Listed Luskin Star Stakes.
Deagon trainer James Lyons will be hoping Lightning Handicap runner-up De Lago Bolt can continue his good run of form, with the Lightning result preceded by a win at Doomben in late April.
Sunshine Coast sprinter River Lad returns to defend his Healy Stakes title but will have to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Lightning.
Other runners of note include New Zealand mare Petty Cury and Darley-owned gelding Skytrain.
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WJ Healy Stakes 2013 – Final Field and Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||1x185x3071||HOWMUCHDOYOULOVEME||Tina Cotsiopoulos||Nash Rawiller||13||60kg||107|
|3||327×411326||RIVER LAD||Natalie Mccall||Eddie Wilkinson||8||58kg||103|
|4||6×23511222||RIVA DE LAGO||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||11||57.5kg||102|
|5||6826214×52||GUNDY SON||Robert Heathcote||Ryan Wiggins||2||55kg||97|
|6||74x1318x12||DELAGO BOLT||James Lyons||Anthony Allen (a)||5||54.5kg||96|
|7||x123819418||FUNTANTES||Robert Heathcote||Glen Colless||6||54.5kg||100|
|8||10x136x443||GRIFFON||Robert Heathcote||Peter Robl||12||54.5kg||96|
|9||19x1111x49||PETTY CURY||Don Sellwood||Ric McMahon||4||54kg||93|
|10||x807323x10||BENNY’S BUTTONS||Kelso Wood||Michael Cahill||7||54kg||92|
|11||111x80x030||LIESELE||Liam Birchley||Chris Munce||1||54kg||92|
|12||29350×0912||ROYAL BENDER||Darren Weir||TBA||10||54kg||92|
|13||71351x718x||SHAFEEQ||Desleigh Forster||Jason Collett||9||54kg||92|