Jockey Ryan Wiggins is hoping for a huge upset in securing a maiden Group 1 title in this weekend’s featured BTC Cup (1200m) at Brisbane’s Doomben Racecourse; confirmed to partner rank outsider Famous Seamus against a field that includes four previous winners at the highest level of Australian racing.
The stable star of trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith, Wiggins told the Courier Mail Famous Seamus did not take to the road trip from his home in Hawkesbury particularly well, but has since returned to prime condition ahead of this weekend’s Group 1.
“Noel wasn’t real happy with the way he travelled up to Brisbane and he only came up three or four days before the race” Wiggins said
“Now he has settled in Noel is really happy with him and his work has picked up.
“Hopefully we strike a dry track … as a wet track would be the only problem.”
Having partnered the Elusive City gelding to a disappointing thirteenth in the 2013 edition of the major Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), Wiggins said he has noticed a supreme lift in form, class and condition and is excited by the prospect of the 2014 BTC Cup.
“When he came up here last year, he (Mayfield-Smith) asked me to gallop him one morning’’ Wiggins said.
“Then the ride in the Stradbroke came up and because I had helped Noel out, he threw me a bone and put me on him in the Stradbroke.
“I think I have ridden in eight Group 1s and the closest I came was sixth.”
Claiming eight wins and seven places from 28 competitive race starts to date, Famous Seamus performed well over five appearances in the spring of 2013; finishing third in both the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Open (1200m) and winning the Listed Lightning Handicap (1100m) most notably.
Returning to the track in similarly competitive form this season, the gelding out of Clinique finished third amongst classy company in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) first-up, and while unable to match the late pace in both the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) and Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) returned to good touch when running on for fifth in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) last time out.
Currently given little hope of success in breaking through for a maiden Group 1 title this weekend, Famous Seamus is featured at a quote of $18 for success, or $6.60 for a place.
A standout performer over the 2013 spring, local hero Buffering is clear favourite to claim the 2014 BTC Cup at current $1.95 odds, ahead of Spirit Of Boom ($5).
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