Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
A number of Gold Coast Magic Millions Cup hopefuls are engaged for a summer lead-up run at Eagle Farm this weekend in the Listed $125,000 Lough Neagh Stakes (1300m).
Running as Eagle Farm Race 8 at 5:08pm (local) on Saturday afternoon, this year’s Lough Neagh Stakes field is down to 13 runners after three early scratchings: #6 Special Missile (7), #9 Tambo’s Mate (10) and #11 Tarbert (8).
Heading the latest Lough Neagh Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au is the market mover and firming favourite Miss Fabulass ($5 into $4.20) prepared by Newcastle’s Kris Lees.
She looked the goods last start at Brisbane’s Doomben track with her narrow win in the Listed Tattersall’s Classic (1200m) in late November, the well-bred daughter of Frankel carrying 58.5kg to victory.
Freshened-up since, four-year-old Miss Fabulass drops notably in weight on Saturday down to just 54.5kg and should be flying home late over the 1300m from her nice gate five draw.
Lees opted to scratch the mare from the inaugural $250,000 The Gateway (1400m) at Saturday’s meet, skipping the chance at a Stradbroke Handicap ballot exemption in favour of the Lough Neagh.
It is an open Lough Neagh Stakes betting affair this year with a further five of the runners under double figures for the win including the close $4.60 second elect Chapter And Verse.
The Desleigh Forster-trained Rothesay five-year-old comes off a Doomben win over Outback Barbie in the Group 3 George Moore Stakes (1200m) from late November where he came from near last to get up by a nose in a thrilling finish.
Chapter And Verse is one of the key fancies for a shot at the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 11 and looks on track to be Forster’s first million dollar earner with his current prize money sitting at $955,075.
Trainer Tony Gollan has won three of the past four editions of the Lough Neagh Stakes having taken it out in 2015 with Fontelina before the back-to-back wins by Most Important (2016-17).
Gollan returns looking to add to his outstanding recent record in the handicap clash this year with the widely drawn I’m A Rippa ($9.50) jumping from barrier 12 (in from 15).
The six-year-old son of Love Conquers All is also out of the George Moore Stakes having run under a length back sixth in a blanket finish and will relish the extra metres on Saturday boasting an outstanding record at the distance (16:5-5-3).
Premier Queensland trainer Robert Heathcote saddles-up the in-form Deep Image ($6.60) in the race, while the David Vandyke-trained Constant Flight ($9) looks a nice 54kg lightweight chance having won three of his four latest starts.
At the other end of the weight scale is the 2020 Magic Millions Cup-bound Tyzone ($9.50) carrying the 59.5kg top weight.
Runner-up in this year’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) behind Trekking, the Toby & Trent Edmonds-trained six-year-old was unplaced in his two subsequent runs at Flemington over the spring.
Saturday shapes up as a far easier assignment and despite the heavy weight, the stable are confident of a good run with Tyzone chasing a wild card entry to Magic Millions Day via a next-up run in The Buffering at Eagle Farm on December 28.
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