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Gollan trio set the benchmark in early winter markets

By Andrew Adermann

A triumvirate of Gollan Racing horses have been installed as early favourites with TAB for Queensland’s up-coming Group 1 races at Eagle Farm on June 6.

Outback Barbie and Vega One hold equal-favouritism at $11 for the Stradbroke Handicap, while gun two-year-old filly Isotope is the clear pick at $5 for the JJ Atkins.

Outback Barbie solidified herself as one of Queensland’s best sprinters at the summer, taking home the $1 million Magic Millions QTIS Open Handicap - her fourth career win.

The four-year-old mare returned to work last week with an eye-catching barrier trial, sitting one-back and one-out on the final turn before cruising past her rivals with ease.

Tony Gollan says it’s business as usual, despite the interruptions that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic, and indicated that we’ll see Outback Barbie back on the track next Saturday in the Group 3 BRC Sprint over 1200 metres.

“Nothing is going to change much for her, that program will stay exactly the same – she’ll resume next week on the 9th in the BRC Sprint” Gollan said.

“She’ll have a two-week transition throughout the carnival, she’s going super – we’re really, really happy with the way she’s going.

“We just have to try draw soft next week at Doomben, it’s crucial at that track but she’s very good fresh first-up and she loves Doomben – it’s probably her favourite track.”

Aquis Park Gold Coast

$1M RACING QUEENSLAND MAGIC MILLIONS QTIS OPEN 1300m

Whilst the admiration for Doomben will play into her hands in the short-term, the latter races in the revised winter program will see her head to Eagle Farm – a track where she has never tasted success.

“I actually don’t (think she should be favourite), her Eagle Farm form is not that great, even though it is a little bit circumstantial,” Gollan said.

“She’s had four runs on the track now so she’s starting to get a bit of a pattern and it’s not kind to her record.

“She’s quite a consistent horse at other venues she’s been to, but Eagle Farm just has not been a happy hunting ground at all for her.

“If she doesn’t fire this prep at Eagle Farm, I’ll be starting to really worry about that track for her going forward.”

On the flipside, stable mate Vega One seems to relish the Eagle Farm track, having raced there three times for two victories – including the $250,000 Gateway, which automatically qualified him for the Stradbroke.

The four-year-old gelding returned to the races last Saturday at the Sunshine Coast over 1000 metres, with an eye-catching albeit controversial ride from star apprentice Baylee Nothdurft, whose tactics came under the microscope of stewards post-race. 

Tactics aside, it was a brilliant first-up effort from a horse that will be better for the run and looking for more distance as his preparation progresses.

“His preparation dates haven’t changed either, just the races have changed,” Gollan said.

“He was going to go first-up into the Victory Stakes last weekend, but to kick off at 1000 metres in a handicap with a big weight – his run was very good.

“He’ll follow a full traditional run now, going the fortnight-fortnight starting with the BRC Sprint over 1200 and then the Victory Stakes into the Stradbroke.

“He’s the opposite to Outback Barbie, he takes a real liking to those sand-profile tracks, the big tracks like Eagle Farm and the Sunshine Coast.”

Eagle Farm

ROKU GIN THE GATEWAY 1400m

COVID-19 restrictions have made it tricky for inter-state trainers to confidently plan a raid on the winter features in the Sunshine State, however a number of southern runners, including Blazejowski, have confirmed their intentions to travel north.

Another name that appeared atop the early market was the Sydney-based control freak Greyworm, but Gollan believes the presence of the Hawkes-trained gelding will play into his duo’s hands.

“Both my two horses are ones that if you can draw good gates, they can be closer to the speed with a bit of cover,” Gollan said.

“There haven’t been too many Stradbrokes where they haven’t gone along at a reasonable tempo, so I can’t see that race being run slow.

“They can obtain really good runs off their racing pattern and be given every chance.

“For me, getting into these bigger races throughout the carnival, I just want the barrier gods to be kind to me, and if we can do that I know they’re all in good shape and will be looking at a good carnival.”

 

 

Two-year-old filly Isotope is the talk of the town, and an outright $5 favourite for the Group 1 JJ Atkins over 1400 metres.

The $170,000 Magic Millions purchase won on debut in devastating fashion, gapping her closest rival by 10 lengths before backing up at the weekend to score another comfortable two-length victory.

“She’s going great – we’re probably keen to give her a month between runs now given it’s her first racing prep so I don’t want to empty all of my carrots out before we get to the good races,” Gollan said.

“It allows us to back off a bit now which is pleasing, give her a bit of time away – and hopefully she’s got enough prize money now heading into the winter.

“We’ll go to the Champagne Stakes for her next start (on May 22), and then the JJ – whether I trial her in between or we take her over and give her a gallop at Doomben in between races we’re not sure yet.”

Doomben

LEXUS QTIS Two-Years-Old Maiden Plate 1110m

One thing is for sure, all signs point towards Isotope having the capabilities of a genuine star, both here and inter-state.

“I think she’s very promising, but I don’t want to put the cart too much in front of the horse yet,” Gollan said.

“I certainly don’t see her as a ‘two-year-old’, I’ve had plenty of them over the years that have won races but you get the gut feeling that they won’t train on at three.

“She doesn’t fit that mould, she’s a lovely filly with a beautiful temperament and demeanor, I can train her any way I want and I believe that I can ride her any way I want.

“I can put her in behind horses like the other day or she can go to the front, but she just has that lovely demeanor about her as a racehorse and that’s going to take her a long way.

“I think that’ll play in to her advantage when we travel her – whether that’s this spring or the Magic Millions in the summer but they’re all things we can assess down the track.

“She’ll only have two more runs this preparation, but she’s got genuine high-class ability – there’s no doubt there – and I’m sure all of her best racing is well and truly ahead of her because she’s a filly that’s going to mature as she gets to a three-year-old.”