Toowoomba trainer Michael Nolan is hoping a notable drop back in weight for his four-year-old Jumbo Prince can spark a return to form in Saturday’s 2015 Brisbane Handicap.
One of two summer stakes races on the Doomben line-up this weekend, a field of 14 milers face off in the $100,000 Listed Brisbane Handicap (1640m) including Nolan’s Outback Prince stallion Jumbo Prince.
Favourites in the Brisbane Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au come from the major Brisbane stables with Premiership leader Tony Gollan saddling-up the top fancy Traveston Girl on the back of a Recognition Stakes win at the track and distance, and Robert Heathcote bringing his Group 1 performed son of Mossman Hopfgarten back from Melbourne.
Jumbo Prince is also under double figures in the current Brisbane Handicap betting markets paying around $8 despite a wide barrier 10 of 14 draw for jockey Michael Cahill to overcome.
Cahill retains the ride on the horse for the fourth time on the trot having ridden him throughout a nice campaign at Doomben to take the galloper’s record at the track up to two wins, three seconds and two thirds from 11 runs leading into Saturday.
Third in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2200m) with Tim Bell aboard as a $21 outsider in betting back in June during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, Jumbo Prince returned in late October and won first-up.
He was second next time out carrying 58kg to victory over 1350m on November 7 before things went amiss last time out.
Stepped up in class he and Cahill suffered a hard run from barrier 12 of 14 in the Listed Recognition Stakes (1600m) on a Firm (2) track and could only manage to finish 3.8 lengths away seventh behind this weekend’s top fancy Traveston Girl.
Jumbo Prince did it tough with 59kg on his back that run and so Nolan is hoping dropping back to 56kg for the rematch in the Brisbane Handicap can see him narrow the gap on the finish line after being penalised weight wise recently for his strong three-year-old form.
“He was most consistent and raced well against the top horses. But they were set-weights races for three-year-olds,” he told AAP this week.
“Jumbo Prince has won only one open-company race and now finds himself with 58 and 59 (kg) in stakes races. We get some weight relief on Saturday with Hofpgarten in the race.
“But in the long term you have to be worried about the weights he will get in the future. The good horses seem to get up quickly in the weights in Queensland.
“He always tries and you don’t want to bury them under big weights all the time.”
Nolan is also hoping for a ground with a bit more give in it this Saturday, the Firm going last time out quite jarring for his galloper.
“It was firm in the Recognition Stakes and while Jumbo Prince handles all conditions, a bit of give would be appreciated,” he said.
All going well and Nolan will head to the Gold Coast Racecourse on January 9 with Jumbo Prince to target the lucrative $1 million Magic Millions Trophy (1800m).
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