All signs point towards Big Money stepping up in class during the 2015 Brisbane Winter Carnival after the five-year-old gelding completed the George Moore Stakes-Lough Neagh Stakes double at Doomben Racecourse earlier this month.
Big Money was second favourite to win the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) on Saturday, at a starting price of $4.80 at Ladbrokes.com.au. Despite an incident-ridden race that saw Cape Kidnappers lose his rider at the beginning and not finish, Big Money and jockey Robert Thompson had the run of the race, winning in easy fashion over one length away from runner-up Whiskey Allround and minor placer Cum Dividend.
Trainer Rodney Northam missed the race, choosing to stay home in Scone instead, but stable spokesman Isabelle Chandler was on hand to watch the win. She revealed afterwards that the gelding would now head to the spelling paddock before returning for a winter campaign with plans to run in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 6.
“Rodney wanted to test him today out to the 1350 metres,” Chandler said via Sky Racing.
“There is a chance the Stradbroke handicap will be run at Doomben over 135 next year.
“He isn’t a big horse but he has a big heart as you saw with his effort under 59.5 kilograms today.”
Thompson meanwhile has no doubts Big Money can be a Group One competitor.
“I suppose he would have to improve two lengths to be a chance in a Stradbroke. But you have to be in it to win it,” the jockey said.
“I’ll tell you one thing he could have won with 62kgs today and he won’t have anything like that in a Stradbroke or other top class races.”
Big Money has won more than half of his 15 career starts and has finished outside the first three just twice when he travelled to Melbourne during the spring carnival. The gelding had a top run in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint (1100m) first up, missing out on a placing by just five a length, before running second last in the Group 2 Tab.com.au Stakes (1200m).
However he redeemed himself on his return to Brisbane earlier this month, winning the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) by well over one length.
The gelding will undoubtedly be one to watch come the winter after a well-earned break.
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