By Glenn Davis
Trainer Darryl Gardiner believes bargain buy Mr Phenomenal can extend his winning sequence to five at Callaghan Park in Rockhampton on Thursday before setting his sights on a possible Brisbane campaign next year.
Mr Phenomenal will be ridden by regular jockey, apprentice Elyce Smith, when the five-year-old steps out against four rivals in the Empire Apartment Hotel Handicap (1200m).
The former Victorian sprinter made it four wins in a row last start when he scored a decisive victory in a 1300-metre Open at Callaghan Park on August 23.
Gardiner has only one major concern with the son of Phenomenons who was bought for only $6,500 as a tried horse.
“I hope he can win again but he’s been in work since November last year,” Gardiner said.
“But he hasn’t been overly raced and I never knock him around.
“He’s getting close to a spell and it’s starting to get a bit hot up this way now.
“He won’t race in the summer and will be in the paddock by then but I may send him to Brisbane next campaign and aim for some restricted races down there.”
Gardiner has a team of 10 horses in work in Bundaberg and is a regular traveller on the country circuit in Queensland.
However, he’s now concentrating on Rockhampton races to avoid long hours travelling.
“I’m starting to get tired of all the travel and I’ve been aiming mostly at Rockhampton with my horses,” he said.
Mr Phenomenal, who is owned by Gardiner’s wife Joanne, was originally to be trained by Thangool’s Damien Rideout.
“I got him for $6,500 from Chris Calthorpe who is a Victorian trainer,” Gardiner said.
“He was originally going to be sold to Damien Rideout at Thangool but Damien rang me and asked me if I was interested in buying him as he had too many horses.
“I went through his Victorian form and immediately said I’d take him.
“Damien still whinges about it.”
Mr Phenomenal was placed once in six starts in Victoria but has been a great money spinner for Gardiner winning eight times in 11 starts.
Gardiner rates the Lyle Wright-trained Jack Lancaster as the main threat to Mr Phenomenal.
“Jack Lancaster is our biggest worry. He won quite well over 1100 metres last start at Rocky,” he said.
“I'm never get confident with my bloke as I still think 1200 metres is a little short for him.
“I think he’ll eventually get 1600 metres.”
Racing Queensland webnews October 2