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Veteran hoop Jim Byrne will chase a fourth Queensland Cup success on Saturday partnering the Chris Waller-trained Exoteric in the two-mile classic at Eagle Farm.
Five-time Brisbane premiership winning rider Byrne enjoyed a three-peat in the 3200m feature, now worth $200,000, back in 2016 aboard the Waller-trained Murphy’s Delight.
He returns in 2019 looking for another for the record-breaking trainer, this time jumping in the saddle of imported Champs Elysees six-year-old Exoteric.
“It goes unsaid to ride for Chris at any time is great let alone in a big race,” Byrne, 47, told Racenet this week.
The jockey’s other Queensland Cup winning rides were aboard Insecure (1998) and Green Diamond (2002).
Success in the 2019 Queensland Cup by Exoteric will see Waller celebrate his incredible 54th stakes victory for the season.
On paper Waller has certainly selected the right man for the job, Byrne boasting an incredible record in staying races at the Eagle Farm track.
He is also won a host of other staying events at the course over the years including the Brisbane Cup (2200m) on Chocante in 2017, the Queensland Derby (2400m) on Riva San in 2008 and the Premier’s Cup (2200m) on Tabulate in 2010.
Exoteric has his third start at Eagle Farm and is out to atone after two unplaced runs earlier during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
In late May the bay ran three lengths back sixth behind Gold Coast galloper The Candy Man as a triple-figure roughie in the Group 3 $140,000 Premier’s Cup (2200m).
He then backed-up in the Group 2 $400,000 Brisbane Cup (2400m) but only managed to run 10th behind Sixties Groove in another disappointing run.
Next-up Exoteric travelled to the Sunshine Coast for the Listed $175,000 Caloundra Cup (2400m) and on a Heavy (10) track finished an improved fourth behind the Kiwi-trained mare Igraine.
His latest run was on July 11 in the Listed $164,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) where Exoteric was again out of form on a Good (4) track when eighth, nine lengths off the winner Sacred Day.
Despite this form, the latest Queensland Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Exoteric a safe shot at $14 with Byrne to ride the stayer from gate 11 on 56.5kg.
In the Grafton Cup Exoteric carted 59kg and so should enjoy the drop back in weight when chasing his first victory since the Listed $141,000 ATC Cup (2000m) at Rosehill in December of 2018.
Waller’s Queensland Racing Manager Paul Shailer is confident of Exoteric’s staying abilities and believes the horse a genuine winning chance in the second last Black-Type race of the season.
“He has won the Port Macquarie Cup, Tatt’s Cup and ATC Cup in the last year so he isn’t all that badly off,” he said.
Queensland Cup betting is co-led by stablemates Yogi and Azuro at $2.80 for Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, the two stayers coming off excellent lead-up runs in Sydney.
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