Tony Gollan’s flying Brisbane galloper Casual Choice is out to retain his undefeated status this campaign shooting for a fourth win on the trot in the Ascot Handicap 2016 at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
One of four stakes races on the card, this year’s $100,000 Listed IGA Sunshine Coast Ascot Handicap (1200m) is set to run as the Sunshine Coast Race 7 at 3:47pm (AEST) and features a dozen final acceptors.
Drawn in barrier nine with Jim Byrne booked for the ride is Gollan’s six-year-old son of Choisir Casual Choice.
He has won all three starts this autumn including the Listed Gold Coast Stakes (1200m) two back on March 12.
Yet to run at the Sunshine Coast track he comes off a lead-up win over 1110m at Doomben on April 2 with Byrne aboard on 59kg and so drops a kilo to 58kg on the weekend.
Group 1 winning horseman Gollan has also accepted for Whiskey Allround who jumps from barrier seven on the 54kg minimum with Robbie Fradd riding the All Bar One five-year-old.
His latest victory was the Listed Falvelon Stakes (1200m) at Doomben in mid-February, with two below par runs following when ninth and 10th respectively behind his stablemate Casual Choice.
There are two other last start winners in the field aside from Casual Choice with Daph ‘N’ Alf in the outside barrier (12) and Sambuca Shot drawn a treat in barrier three.
Cassandra Marsh prepares the Mackay-based Longhorn seven-year-old Daph ‘N’ Alf who saluted at Townsville on April 7 ahead of his ninth trip to the Sunshine Coast where he has three wins, a second and a third.
Sambuca Shot meanwhile won a Class 5 over 1200m at the Gold Coast carrying 57.5kg on April 2, so should relish the drop back to 54kg this weekend.
The Clang four-year-old is also a three-time Sunshine Coast winner and has is back at the track for the first time since his fifth to Timeless Prince in the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) run on a Heavy (10) in late January.
Heading the Ascot Handicap weights this season with 58.5kg and drawn one on the inside of Sambuca Shot in gate two is the Robert Heathcote-trained Hopfgarten.
One of Brisbane’s best Damian Browne rides the Mossman five-year-old first-up, Hopfgarten shooting for his third first-up win from seven resuming runs to date.
He was runner-up to Traveston Girl three back in the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1640m) in early December before a disappointing Bernborough Handicap 12th and Gold Coast Magic Millions Trophy 10th during the summer.
Also returning in this year’s Ascot Handicap is the local John Zielke-trained Choisir stallion Worthy Cause, the four-year-old last seen crossing fourth to Tinto in the Magic Millions Trophy on January 9.
That followed a Bernborough third to Centre Pivot, his first start since a third in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown in mid-November during a Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign.
Worthy Cause has had three runs at the Sunshine Coast for a win and a third to date and won a 1270m trial at the track by two lengths on April 12 leading up to his return on Saturday.
See below for the full Ascot Handicap 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights before treating yourself to $150 in bonuses by signing-up with Ladbrokes.com.au, depositing just $50 and quoting the code BONUS150!
2016 Ascot Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Sunshine Coast Race 7 (3:47pm) – 23/04/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||8x0066200x||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||2||58.5kg||100|
|2||513706×111||CASUAL CHOICE||Tony Gollan||Jim Byrne||9||58kg||99|
|3||x17145334x||WORTHY CAUSE||John Zielke||Luke Dittman (a)||1||58kg||99|
|4||17x421270x||FRESPANOL||Tony Gollan||Ms Tegan Harrison||5||57kg||97|
|5||x1521238x7||ARCHITECT||Sherrie Lawlor||Jeff Lloyd||4||55.5kg||94|
|6||153337×845||JESSY BELLE||Luke Oliver||James Orman (a)||10||54kg||94|
|7||5×45022190||WHISKEY ALLROUND||Tony Gollan||Robbie Fradd||7||54kg||91|
|8||172x004x81||DAPH ’N’ ALF||Cassandra Marsh||Glen Colless||12||54kg||89|
|9||92226×3113||ELLAWISDOM||Trevor Thomas||Nathan Thomas||6||54kg||86|
|10||149x73331x||MISCHIEVOUS DEVIL||Peter & William Hulbert||Paul Hammersley||8||54kg||78|
|11||86×3315681||SAMBUCA SHOT||Robert R Wilson||Ms Sarah Eilbeck (a)||3||54kg||76|
|12||018x11x276||DESERT GENERAL (NZ)||Liam Birchley||Michael Cahill||11||54kg||75|