After coming up with the ‘visitor’s gate’ for the George Moore Stakes 2013 in Brisbane on Saturday, trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith had two options for Famous Seamus.
One was to scratch the recent Lightning Handicap winner from the $200,000 Group 3 Doomben sprint.
The other was to press on with their final summer run and hope their regular jockey Tim Clark, booked for the ride again, can get them into a decent spot in the 1200m showdown.
Mayfield-Smith has opted for the latter with his Elusive City five-year-old a confirmed starter in the capacity George Moore Stakes field.
This year’s race, which kicks off the Brisbane Summer Sprint Series, drew 18 final acceptors.
Sixteen will get a run while the remaining two are emergencies lying in wait.
A luckless draw saw Famous Seamus, who has been in Brisbane since Wednesday, come up with gate 18 – into 16 of 16 for the jump.
“I didn’t want to draw 18 but I also didn’t want to draw inside,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“We have two choices. Either scratch or come up with a plan to give him the best opportunity to win from that gate.”
It’s a nasty blow but one that their handler is hoping they can overcome along with their 60kg topweight.
“I would’ve been really happy if he got 59kg but I was realistic and thought he’d get 60kg,” Mayfield-Smith told AAP this week.
Two back the consistent five-year-old enjoyed a Randwick win when carrying a big 59kg to victory over Ichihara (55kg) in the Listed Lightning Handicap (1100m).
Following that they went to Melbourne but could only manage to run two and a half lengths away third behind Lankan Rupee in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) on November 16 where they didn’t like the Caulfield track.
“He never handled the track and was on the wrong leg the whole way,” their trainer said.
“If you look at the replay, the front-on shot, he’s got his head on the side and it was only the last 100 metres that he stretched out and got third after it looked as though he wasn’t going to run anywhere.
“He was finishing off quite nicely and I thought if the race was a bit further he probably would’ve run second.”
The Hawkesbury-based Mayfield-Smith then is willing to forgive them that run however and hopes they can be competitive on Saturday before being turned out for a brief break.
“If you take a line through the Lightning at Randwick, he won that with 59kg and was placed after that in a Group race,” Mayfield-Smith explained.
“I don’t think this race is as strong as either of those two races.”
Once they return it will be in preparation for another trip to Queensland, the Sydney sprinter to target the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival riches next year.
They were set for a winter festival bid this year and enjoyed two sunshine state wins at Eagle Farm and the Gold Coast in April and May respectively.
Their two major assignments however they were well beaten in when 12th to Belltone in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) in May and 13th to the great grey Linton in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
It’s a top George Moore Stakes line-up this weekend with some of the top fancies including Kelly Schweida’s classy Commands six-year-old Cape Kidnappers, last start Keith Noud Handicap runner-up Benny’s Buttons and young filly Doubtiflly on a seven day back-up after her third here last Saturday.
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