By Andrew Adermann
The TAB Queensland Racing Carnival is fast approaching, and punters are starting to get an early idea of which of the nation’s best thoroughbreds will make the trip north this year.
Godolphin head trainer James Cummings has indicated that Trekking will return to defend his crown in the $1.5 million Group 1 TAB Stradbroke Handicap on June 6.
The five-year-old gelding has enjoyed a stellar six months since his Stradbroke triumph, winning the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield - a qualifier for The Everest, where he went on to run an eye-catching third place.
Elsewhere in the Godolphin stable, keep an eye out for the much-hyped return of 2018 Randwick Guineas winner Kementari.
The four-year-old was retired to stud in 2019, but a number of fertility issues led to the decision to geld the star and bring him out of retirement.
Best of Days will hope to feature in the Doomben Cup over 2000 metres on May 16, before setting his eyes on the new $1.5 million Group 2 EVA Air Q22 over 2200 metres at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Day.
The Kennedy Mile winner will have his work cut out for him in the Q22, with 2019 Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien confirming Vow and Declare will also be targeting the same race.
Finally, Isurian and Exhilarates, who both featured throughout the recent Magic Millions carnival, are spelling at the moment and will be seen in Queensland at some point throughout winter.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stable has confirmed that Just Thinkin’ and Rule The World will both feature in the Sunshine State, yet stayed coy about which races in particular the pair of geldings would target.
Peter and Paul Snowden stated that the trio of Signore Fox, Cosmic Force and Hightail will all feature in this year’s winter carnival, while Brave Song will look at the series of sprint events before ultimately heading towards the Stradbroke Handicap.
The Snowdens crop of two-year-olds were the talk of the town in the lead up to this year’s Magic Millions, and the stable indicated that Untamed will be targeted towards the $1 million Group 1 J.J Atkins, while another two-year-old in Wild Ruler will also feature in the carnival.
The $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks over 2200 metres could feature both Rathvilly Miss and Rocha Clock, with respective trainers Greg Hickman and John O’Shea work towards the race for three-year-old fillies.
Finally, two of Kris Lees’ big names will hope to feature at various stages across the winter, with In Her Time to target the sprints and Big Duke to arrive towards the end of the carnival for staying races including the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup – where he ran second last year.
It is already shaping up to be a massive TAB Queensland Racing Carnival, and it is expected that plenty more big names will be making the trek north.
Click here for more information about the carnival and to read more about what’s new in 2020.