Local Eagle Farm horseman Danny Bougoure is confident a hot pace and the sting out of the Doomben track in Brisbane this weekend will help his mare Anna Lizzie race competitively in the 2015 Just Now Quality Handicap.
The first of the two stakes races on the Brisbane Handicap Day line-up, there are 14 fillies and mares facing off in this summer’s $100,000 Listed Just Now Quality Handicap (1350m) including Bougoure’s six-year-old daughter of Mearas.
She is drawn a treat in gate two with Brad Stewart booked to replace Michael Cahill who guided her to a sixth behind Lock’s Legend over 2030m at the track back on October 10.
Freshened-up since that run, Anna Lizzie drops notably back in distance for the Just Now Handicap on Saturday where she gets in on the 54kg minimum, weights led by the Kelso Wood-trained Real Surreal (59kg) who is also drawn wide in gate 13 of 14.
Bougoure has had his mare, not seen in the winner’s stall since January of last year meaning it has been nearly two years between wins, on a middle-distance campaign racing at distances ranging from a mile up to 2200m.
She has solid form over less distance however including the 1350m of Saturday’s test with 14 starts for four wins and three seconds.
Her trainer is confident she’ll handle the drop in metres and he is also hoping for a solid pace at Doomben with Anna Lizzie needing the speed on to be competitive in her first stakes race since an unplaced effort in the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) back on New Year’s Day.
“Last time in she ran second to the in-form Steel Zip when she was resuming (over 1350m at Doomben on August 8),” Bougoure pointed out.
“Anna Lizzie really does need a solid pace no matter what the distance.
“But even the middle-distance races in Brisbane have usually been a walk and sprint home. There should be pace on Saturday and that will suit us.”
Bougoure also blames too-firm tracks for some of her more recent disappointments and with the heavens opening up in Brisbane this week, he is hoping for some give in the ground come race day.
“Her best races have been on tracks rated in the five to six range,” he said.
“There has been rain around and hopefully we will get a softer track on Saturday.
“She has a few joint problems which we can manage but rock-hard tracks don’t suit her.”
Current Just Now Quality odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Sydney visitors Typhoon Jolie ($4.80) and Slots ($5).
Anna Lizzie meanwhile is one of the longest priced in betting at a roughie’s price of $41 for the upset.
All going to plan Bougoure is eyeing a Gold Coast run on January 9 in the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) next month in restricted company.
“I will also enter her for the fillies and mares race in case she can’t make the Cup field,” he said, speaking of the $1 million Magic Millions Fillies & Mares Handicap (1300m) over 100m shorter.
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