Group 1 winning Brisbane horseman Tony Gollan may be absent from this Saturday’s Caloundra Cup Day meeting at the Sunshine Coast, but his stable is in line for another feature race double to emulate their Ipswich Cup Day success.
Two weeks ago Gollan took out the two majors at Ipswich with Brave Ali taking out the Cup and Alma’s Fury winning the Eye Liner Stakes.
Now this weekend his attention turns to further north where he will saddle-up Brave Ali again this time in the $175,000 Listed Ross Maclean Fellowship Caloundra Cup (2400m) and his Eye Liner winner Alma’s Fury going for another in the $175,000 Listed Reed Property Group Glasshouse Handicap (1400m).
“We’d definitely like to come to Caloundra on Saturday and win with both of them,” stable foreman John Flemming told the Sunshine Coast Daily.
“They’re both on the improve.”
Gollan, winner of the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 quinella with half-brothers Spirit Of Boom (1st) and Temple Of Boom (2nd) earlier this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, is currently celebrating a belated honeymoon in New Zealand with new bride Jane.
His presence though will be felt trackside at the Sunshine Coast in the two headline events, especially in the 2014 Caloundra Cup where O’Reilly seven-year-old Brave Ali will jump favourite.
Leading up to their Ipswich Cup victory Brave Ali won three of their four previous starts and finished third in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) so are in flying form and ready to strike again.
“With the five weeks in between when he ran third (in the Chairman’s Handicap) to when he won at Ipswich, he’s definitely come on,” Flemming said.
“And he did the same sort of trackwork this morning with Alma’s Fury as what they did going into the Ipswich carnival and, if anything, the signs were even a little bit more positive.”
They get into Saturday’s showdown with half a kilo less than the 56.5kg they carried to victory last start as well, and will have staying race specialist Jim Byrne in the saddle taking over for apprentice hoop Tegan Harrison on suspension.
“He (Brave Ali) is a leader and Jimmy’s pretty good at staying races,” Flemming said.
“He’s not a bad judge of pace.”
Byrne, who has won both the Caloundra Cup and Glasshouse Handicap over his career, also rides stablemate Alma’s Fury.
The Refuse To Bend six-year-old is allocated the 59.5kg top weight for the Glasshouse Handicap 2014.
That’s half a kilo more than their winning Eye Liner Stakes weight, but one connections are hoping they can handle from the right barrier under the right conditions.
“He ran seventh to Sacred Star (in the Group 2 QTC Cup over 1200m at Eagle Farm in May) and he improved to win the Eye Liner and we feel he’s come on again going to the Glasshouse,” Flemming said.
Flemming is hoping for a wet track to aid Brave Ali’s cause at Corbould Park, but said both horses were adaptable to any track rating.
“Even if it doesn’t rain that track has always got a good bit of give in it, so that suits both horses,” he said.
Caloundra Cup Day fields are due for release shortly so stay tuned.
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