Toowoomba trainer Steve Tregea has some serious concerns about the hefty handicap allocation his galloper Love Rocks is forced to carry in Saturday’s Keith Noud Handicap 2014 at Doomben Racecourse.
The Stratum five-year-old is one of 11 sprinters facing off in the $100,000 Listed Brisclean Keith Noud Handicap (1200m) and carries the second heaviest weight of 58kg.
He meets seasoned gallopers Benny’s Buttons from the Kelso Wood stables and the Robert Heathcote-trained veteran Excellatnes only 1.5kg better in the weights, something that is mystifying to Tregea.
Saturday will only be Love Rocks’ second black type assignment following a one length win over Benny’s Buttons in the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) at the track back on December 21.
That was the promising galloper’s third straight win following emphatic victories at Eagle Farm by three and a half lengths, and Doomben by two and a half lengths in Class 6 races last summer.
While no denying the horse has potential, proven by a first up win over 1110m at Doomben in a Benchmark 90 from October 25 after a 10 month spell, Love Rocks was flat at the Sunshine Coast last time out.
On November 14 he was beaten over four lengths by Rocky King in an open handicap carrying 58.5kg, a weight he struggled with, in just his second open-company race.
Now Tregea is worried the weight will catch up to him again on Saturday ruining his chances of another stakes win.
“After he won the Lough Neagh he went up 13 rating points to 100. Now you can argue the merits of that because he did run very fast time,” he told AAP.
“But what has me perplexed is that he got beaten four lengths in a Friday open handicap at a provincial track and didn’t come down in the ratings.”
He also harbours concerns about how fit the horse can remain going forward with handicaps like Saturday’s with Love Rocks known to suffer from ongoing knee issues.
“It has me worried what to do with him in the long term,” he said.
On Saturday Love Rocks will be ridden by senior hoop Anthony Allen in the non-claiming race after apprentices James Orman and Matthew McGuren were used for their claims in the horse’s two opening runs this time in.
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