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A win in the Toowoomba Guineas over the weekend has confirmed plans for the Michael Nolan-trained Jumbo Prince to target the 2015 Queensland Derby in Brisbane this winter racing carnival.
The Outback Prince colt lined-up in the Toowoomba Guineas (1625m) on Toowoomba Cup Day on Saturday, jockey Luke Tarrant guiding the up-and-comer to a nice three-quarter length victory over Sky Limit in the mile feature.
It was a run that had his trainer sweating mid-race, but one that confirmed the high opinion Nolan has of his $8,000 bargain yearling buy.
“I thought halfway up the straight ‘Jumbo, you’re going to have to dig in’ but he just does it,” Nolan said after the win.
“I’m so proud of him because I thought he was under all sorts of pressure.”
Twice tested in black-type company as a two-year-old last year, Jumbo Prince’s best run from last seas was a third behind Fixation when beaten only half a length in the Listed Breakfast Creek Hotel Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
He is tipped for much bigger things this time in then, Nolan hoping to take him all the way to Doomben Racecourse on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 6, for a shot at the $600,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m).
Queensland Derby nominations closed last week with a bumper 120 three-year-olds making up the early entries for the staying showdown.
The futures Queensland Derby odds are led by John Zielke’s Choisir colt Worthy Cause who won the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic on April 25 at the Gold Coast, the Chris Waller-trained ATC Derby fifth placed gelding Quick Strike and his ATC Oaks second placed stablemate Winx who is the best fancied of the fillies.
Jumbo Prince, who has now won eight of his 19 starts for $388,200 in prize money, is also in the first half of betting at a quote of around $15 after the Toowoomba Guineas success.
Nolan confirmed a next-up run on Doomben Cup Day this weekend for Jumbo Prince in the $125,000 Group Rough Habit Plate (2000m) who will be on the quick seven day turnaround on way to the Derby.
“It’s not ideal backing up because he’s a lightly framed horse and can be a picky eater, but I don’t see any other option,” Nolan said on Saturday.
“But he’s really tough and it would be a dream come true if he could get to the Derby.”
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