Brisbane’s Tony Gollan believes his market mover Whiskey Allround is “flying” and ready to step up in class for Saturday’s Lough Neagh Stakes 2014 at Doomben Racecourse.
The All Bar One four-year-old has firmed in from $4.40 to $3.60 through Ladbrokes.com.au and is now equal favourite with George Moore Stakes winner Big Money to win the $100,000 Listed Garrards Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m).
Whiskey Allround was a very promising juvenile back in 2012 winning his opening three career starts that spring including his debut at Toowoomba by a big eight and a half lengths.
He was Group 2 placed when runner-up to star filly Sweet Idea in the Silver Slipper Stakes in the mud at Rosehill in March 2013 but failed to win again until a first-up effort at Ipswich this October in a Class 4 over 1000m.
His last black-type start was a disappointing effort when dead last and beaten home 10 lengths when 14th behind Eastern Prince in the Listed Queensland Day (1200m) in May at Doomben.
Spelled for five months after that failed run, Whiskey Allround has won all three of his starts this time in with the latest being a one and a quarter-length victory in the $65,000 David Bowe Memorial Class 6 Plate (1200m) on December 6.
“He was awful in the winter so we gave him a good long spell, just chucked him out in the back paddock with the cows,” Gollan told the Sportsman.
“When he came back he was a far more mature animal and has just been a better horse.
“He has a bit of confidence under his belt and he’s really flying.”
Now Gollan will give him a chance in better company again back at Doomben with regular rider Timothy Belle in the saddle, the duo drawn ideally in barrier two.
Getting in on the 54kg minimum gives Whiskey Allround a notable 5.5kg advantage over fellow favourite Big Money (59.5kg) who is after back-to-back wins in the opening two legs of the Brisbane summer sprint crown.
The Lough Neagh Stakes will be the horse’s first look at further than 1200m but Gollan is confident he’ll eat up the extra metres especially with the rain in Brisbane forcing a Soft – Heavy track that Whiskey Allround is proven on.
“We made a decision which way to go and it appears on paper we’ve made the right decision because all the speed went to the 1200m and not so much the 1350m,” he said.
“He looks the leader and gets his chance to do it at his tempo.”
If all goes well on Saturday then Gollan will be forced to consider some big winter carnival assignments for the rejuvenated Whiskey Allround next year.
Gollan is also represented in the Lough Neagh Stakes field this year by Someday in barrier nine with Tegan Harrison in the saddle.
Falvelon six-year-old Someday has been in top form this season, the Brisbane Handicap winner over the mile coming off a second behind Big Money in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) from December 6.
“He’s been trained for this race and possibly the Bernborough,” Gollan said of the $7 Lough Neagh fancy.
“It was always a bit of a query last start whether the 1200m would be a bit sharp for him.
“He’s drawn a bit awkwardly so we just have to try and get into a spot in the first half of the field.”
The $200,000 Listed Bernborough Handicap (1615m) runs at Toowoomba on December 30 and is a nice end-of-year target for Queensland milers.
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