A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Premier Brisbane horseman Kelso Wood may be nearing 70 but he’s still dreaming like a young trainer as he plans an ambitious 2013 Cox Plate campaign for his stable star Sizzling this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Wood, 69, has five of his Queensland gallopers on the road this season and believes they’re his strongest lot of interstate challengers ever.
“I haven’t been back (interstate) for a long while because I don’t want to travel horses unless I’m sure I can win a race,” he told the Herald Sun this week.
“(But) this is the best lot of horses I’ve had.”
Three of his raiders resume at Warwick Farm in Saturday’s $125,000 Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) in Sydney.
His contingent who take on $2.90 favourite Rebel Dane are veteran eight-year-old BRC Sprint winner Belltone ($26), last start Glasshouse Handicap champ Someday ($12) and of course Sizzling ($7).
Classy $1.3 million earning Snitzel stallion Sizzling steps out as a four-year-old for the first time in the Show County looking to kick off a spring prep heading towards Australasia’s weight-for-age championship – the $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 in Victoria.
Sizzling has won seven of his 17 career starts so far, the most notable of which was their narrow victory in last year’s Group 1 TJ Smith (1600m) as a two-year-old, and Wood believes that record should be even more impressive.
“He should have won a few more races, but horses that race like him are always prone to being a bit unlucky. Everything has to go your way,” the veteran horseman said.
Sizzling’s three-year-old season was also a cracker and included a devastatingly close second in the $2 million Gold Coast Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) back in January where only their barrier 16 (of 16) draw got the better of them.
During the winter carnival at home Sizzling looked back to their best third-up winning the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m).
They failed to match it with the best of their older rivals on a short seven-day back-up after that however when two and a half lengths away seventh behind upset winner Linton in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 8.
They’ve had the one trial since winning over 820m at Doomben at the start of the month, and are one of the top fancies to win the last at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
“I’ve looked after him,” Wood said of Sizzling.
“He’s had his spells when he needs a spell, he’s never been pushed and I think now as a four-year-old it’s going to be his time.”
While he knows it’s a tough assignment, Wood is really hoping Sizzling comes back well and shows enough progression to earn a shot at the Cox Plate for which they are currently an $81 roughie to win.
“He’s not a mad stallion, he’s a beautiful horse, has a great temperament and there’s no reason why he can’t win a good race like that,” Wood said.
“He will definitely run 2000 metres.
“Sizzling is extra special for sure.”
Following the Show County Quality Wood is looking at races in Sydney such as the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on October 5 for his resuming trio before they go to Melbourne.
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