Promising Darley-owned colt Sidestep has been ruled out of Saturday’s 2014 BTC Cup and the remainder of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival due to injury.
Formerly with Peter Snowden, the now John O’Shea-trained Exceed And Excel three-year-old won’t race again this season and has been sent to the paddock to recover and prepare for a spring return.
Last start winner of the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 19, Sidestep was battling for favouritsim with local champion Buffering in the pre-field markets for the $400,000 Group 1 Bunderberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben Racecourse this weekend.
After such a good go in Sydney this autumn the young gun was well fancied to give Rob Heathcote’s triple Group 1 winner Buffering a run for their money in the BTC Cup when making their Queensland debut.
However the only thing standing in Buffering’s way now looks to be the likely wet track with Sidestep out of the equation.
Darley’s new private trainer, taking over for Snowden who is now out on his own, O’Shea informed Racing Queensland today that Sidestep would not be taking part in the carnival.
Sidestep has suffered a minor join injury ruling them out of the BTC Cup, although it’s not a serious problem and is one O’Shea expects them to make a full recovery from.
Buffering is now the resounding BTC Cup betting favourite, the Mossman six-year-old last seen running third to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in Sydney on April 12.
That day ‘The Buff’ encountered a Heavy (9) track and failed to really let down on the mud track.
From their 40 starts to date Buffering has had five runs on Heavy going for two wins and two minor placings.
So, although it’s not their preferred track condition, they are still expected to perform well on Saturday if the long term forecast for rain this week eventuates.
Heathcote though still needs convincing, the weather worrying Brisbane’s top horseman.
“It is a misconception that people think Buffering is a very good wet tracker. I don’t believe he is,” Heathcote told The Courier Mail.
“I am nervous because I think he is vulnerable on too wet a track.
“It takes away his biggest asset and that is his high cruising speed and his ability to sustain it.
“It is a concern.”
The other big name players that could suffer on a wet track for the BTC Cup include Gerald Ryan’s Black Caviar Lighting winning mare Snitzerland who won’t run if the rain comes and Tony Gollan’s recent William Reid Stakes champ Spirit Of Boom.
Gollan will also be represented in the race by Spirit Of Boom’s half-brother Temple Of Boom who got the better of them when the duo ran one-two in a surprise result in Eagle Farm’s Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) on April 26.
“The forecast is pretty ordinary for the back end of the week and I am a little bit concerned,” Gollan said.
“I don’t think that tracks here can handle a hell of a lot of rain, so I hope we get dry weather.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the BTC Cup including the final field and barriers out on Wednesday morning.
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