While Michael Nolan had originally planned to send Jumbo Prince to the spelling paddock following the colt’s First National Investments Handicap (1800m) win at the Gold Coast on January 3, the trainer has opted to give him one last start.
Jumbo Prince will take on nine potential stayers in a Benchmark 95 Handicap over 2200 metres at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, a race which Nolan is using as a trial for the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m) in Brisbane during the winter.
If the colt handles the distance he will be aimed at the 2015 Queensland Derby and if not Nolan can give up on those plans and find a more suitable race over a shorter distance.
“There wasn’t much around for him as he isn’t a Magic Millions horse. But we had a rethink when we saw Saturday’s race at the Sunshine Coast over 2200 metres,” Nolan told Sky Racing.
“It is a perfect chance for us to see how he handles the distance. If he can’t run it now it is highly unlikely he will run it in the winter in a race like the Queensland Derby.
“If he can’t get 2200 metres it gives us time to plot a different path.”
Bought for just $8,000, Jumbo Prince has proved lucrative to his owners, winning over $160,000 in total prize money.
The colt is in good form following two wins and a second in his past four starts and is currently the $3.40 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au to win on Saturday.
Jumbo Prince will carry just 50kg after apprentice jockey Luke Tarrant makes his claim and will get an ideal start from barrier two.
“Luke knows him well, the light weight gives him a real hope and the big track should help also,” Nolan said.
“The only problem with him is he is small and I do mean small. He is nicely put together but his size will tell against him eventually.”
The Queensland Derby is one of three Group One races running at Doomben Racecourse on June 6, along with the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m).
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