WITH the absence of staying champions Space Star and Sweet It Is, the door has been left wide open for trainers contesting heats of the Group 1 Macro Meats Gold Cup at Albion Park on Thursday night.
Astute Grandchester mentor Tony Brett has two live chances with Luna Jinx and Tuavasa Shek drawing boxes four and one in their respective heats.
“I’m pretty hopeful about their chances,” Brett said.
“They can post good times on their day and only have to finish in the first four to qualify for next week’s final.
“Obviously it’s disappointing that Space Star was injured so I knew he wouldn’t be entered in this series and I spoke to Braden (Finn) about Sweet It Is going to New Zealand and I didn’t think she would be back in time for this race either.”
“It gives trainers who wouldn’t normally have a chance in these types of races a shot at a Group 1.”
Formerly trained in New South Wales by Darryl Chapman, Tuavasa Shek, currently $2.60 with Sportsbet, has been in great form of late, reflecting his name-sake from the Sydney Roosters; Roger Tuavasa Shek.
Winning his past two starts over the 710-metre distance at Albion Park, Brett is very impressed with his ability, saying his success in Queensland is a reflection of the hard work Chapman put in previously.
“He owned Exhibitionist who unfortunately made a couple of Group races but couldn’t get on the dais.”
“Darryl (Chapman) is a good friend and has been asking me to take him, but I told him there weren’t enough staying races up here for him.”
“He’s now won two in a row and has stayer written all over him.”
The son of Heston Bale and Thermal Image has recorded a solid personal best of 42.53 at Wentworth Park over 720-metres and has since blossomed at Albion Park, recording two wins from two starts and a personal best time of 41.91.
Notching up his 12th career victory on Sunday from 35 starts, keep a close eye on the 30kg lightweight to make an impact on Thursday night.
Group 1 Superstayers winner Luna Jinx is the $5.50 third favourite with Sportsbet to take out heat one, with Brett also optimistic of her chances.
“I actually trained her grandmother Oreo and she’s a nice type, however she loves the rails, so she will need to get some room early on.”
“I think she can run a nice time at the track and be competitive also.”
“If she can finish in the first four it will be a good opportunity for her to build up towards the final.”
By Velocette out of Hannah’s Jinx, this 26kg chaser has posted 16 victories from 41 starts, including a 41.68 win at Sandown Park.
Luna Jinx elevated her status after defeating Space Star and Lady Toy in the Group 1 Superstayers final at Sandown Park in March, sending her prizemoney account soaring with the addition of $100,000.
Luna Jinx will exit from box four in heat one tomorrow night at 7.22pm and Tuavasa Shek will jump from box one in heat two scheduled for 7.41pm Queensland time.
The first four runners from each heat will move through to next weeks Group 1 final worth $75,000 to the winner.