The Bart & James Cummings-trained High Midnight looks on track for a shot at a hat-trick of wins this time in with a nice track gallop at home in Sydney on Tuesday morning confirming his trip to Brisbane for Saturday’s 2015 Queensland Derby.
One of three elite levels on the Stradbroke Handicap Day program at Doomben Racecourse on the weekend, this year’s $600,000 Group 1 Channel 7 Queensland Derby (2200m) still officially has 33 three-year-olds entered including the in-form High Midnight.
Team Cummings’ High Chaparral gelding has won three of his six career starts to date including his two most recent on the trot over 1900m and 2000m respectively in three-year-old Benchmark 73 races, his last venture in black type company being a fourth to Hi World in the Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick on April 18.
He is now set for a trip to the Sunshine State for a Derby bid this weekend after impressing with a Randwick hit-out on Tuesday morning over 2000m, a training move performed by the legendary Bart Cummings with many of his star stayers over the years.
High Midnight did a good job in the run finishing in 2:31.2 including his final 600m in 39.1 seconds after quickening, impressing jockey Tim Clark who is hoping for a nice gate he can settle the horse from on Saturday in the Group 1 test.
“It was really nice work and the fact he hasn’t had two gut-busters recently is good because he’s deep into his first preparation,” Clark told The Daily Telegraph.
“All we need now is a decent gate and I can put him to sleep.”
Clark has ridden High Midnight for his three most recent runs and will retain the ride in the Queensland Derby shooting for his first win in the three-year-olds’ classic.
“High Midnight is a horse that I’m starting to form a good relationship with,” Clark said.
“He hasn’t won the traditional Derby lead-up but does bring a different formline into the equation.”
Clark has a nice book of rides lined up for Stradbroke Day also partnering High Midnight’s stablemate Tree Of Jesse in the $400,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) and Joe Pride’s last start WJ McKell Cup winner Sense Of Occasion in the $300,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2200m).
“Sense Of Occasion and Tree Of Jesse are like High Midnight — coming off good wins in Sydney,” he said.
He is also on standby to partner Pride’s Fastnet Rock stallion Rock Sturdy if the four-year-old makes the field for the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) currently sitting 25th on the order of entry for the day’s marquee event.
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