Sunshine State horseman Paul King is keen to reunite with classy mare Lovethebeaches in Saturday’s 2015 Queensland Cup where he’ll allow the six-year-old to roll along as she pleases.
King, aka ‘The Duck’, partnered with the Steve Hodge-trained daughter of Dubai Destination, who is based at Broadmeadow in Newcastle, last time out and it proved a winning combination in Sydney.
Lovethebeaches improved on a fifth over 2100m at Gosford, where she was beaten by nearly eight lengths on May 26, relishing a step up in distance to the two miles of Randwick’s Stayers Cup (3200m) on June 6.
As a 16/1 shot the mare easily accounted for her seven Stayers Cup rivals and on the line had an emphatic five lengths to spare over the Chris Waller-trained Our Voodoo Prince.
During the run King let the mare race as she pleased, attracting the interest of stewards post-win as she sat up to 25 lengths ahead of the pack at one stage with a 120m lead midway through the feature.
King said he simply didn’t hold her back and plans to do the same again this time at the Sunshine Coast in Saturday’s $150,000 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m).
Trainer Hodge confirmed the mare had come through her big win in fine form and was ready for another strong performance on Saturday, though whether she’ll go out to lead this time will be up to her and King.
“Good as gold,” Hodge described her condition as to AAP.
“Knowing that she will run the two miles is an advantage but she might not lead like she did the other day.
“I will leave it up to Paul. He’s ridden in more 3200-metre races than I have.
“As long as we make it a proper staying test. That’s what suits her best. He can just settle her where she’s comfortable and take it from there.”
On Monday there were 11 stayers making up the early Queensland Cup nominations, the entries extended until 9am (AEST) on Tuesday morning.
Just three mares are among the original nominees in the genuine staying test with Lovethebeaches joined by Greg Cornish’s four-year-old Glamorgan Babe and the Toby Edmonds-trained High Chaparral five-year-old Monaco Doll from the Gold Coast.
Among the other notable Queensland Cup hopes this winter are Matt Laurie’s last start Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2400m) winner Escado and David Vandyke’s in-form Husson four-year-old Husson Choice who ran third to Lovethebeaches in the Stayers Cup two back.
Lovethebeaches will be lining up for her 40th career start this weekend but shoots for just her sixth win something Hodge is hopeful he can achieve with her as she’s up over the 3200m for the second time after relishing the distance last time out.
“I wouldn’t say she’s getting better with age, but she’s at the right distance now,” Hodge said of the mare who has never won over less than 2100 metres.
“She isn’t up to the top class horses but her work has been good and she’s won two of her past three starts.
“To have Paul go up and ride her is great. It gives me that bit of extra confidence.”
The official Queensland Cup 2014 field and barriers are out on Wednesday so stay tuned.
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