By Glenn Davis
Talented three-year-old Hang lived up to trainer Ben Currie’s high expectations with a dominant victory in the Toowoomba Guineas at Clifford Park on Saturday.
Hang, the second leg of a double for jockey Jim Byrne, powered home to beat Naked and Zofonic Dancer.
Currie has always had a big opinion of Hang who took his record to five wins from eight starts.
Currie’s opinion of Hang is so high that he had nominated him for the Group 1 Australian Derby which was run moments earlier at Randwick.
Hang won four races in succession before finishing fifth behind the Rob Heathcote-trained Trommelschlagen at Doomben two weeks ago which prompted Currie to stay at home.
Hang is a son of noted wet track sire Clang, who also won an Australian Derby and is owned by popular Toowoomba racing identity Kim McCasker.
McCasker’s best win was with the Michael Nolan-trained Laurie’s Lottery in the 1999 Doomben 10,000.
“He’s a pretty good horse and it was a big win,” Currie said.
“He had to sit three wide and did it tough and he really hit the line well.”
Currie may have missed the Australian Derby with Hang but he’s hopeful the emerging stayer will make it to the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Doomben in June.
“He’ll head towards the Queensland Derby now and I’ve got a bit of time to work out his lead-up program,” Currie said.
Earlier talented filly Shamurt maintained her unblemished record and booked a winter carnival campaign with a gusty win in the Spirit Of Boom QTIS Two-Year-Old Handicap (1100m).
Shamurt, ridden by Byrne, sat off the pace set up by early leader Cuddle Me Tight before going on to win by a long neck with The Palms, a further 4-1/4 lengths away, third.
Trainer Tony Gollan was the least surprised to see the daughter of Murtajill make it two wins from as many starts.
“She’s a very good filly and the win didn’t surprise me,” Gollan said.
Gollan was relieved he pulled the right reign with Shamurt after deciding to run at Toowoomba instead of the Sunshine Coast next Saturday.
“I was thinking of taking her to Caloundra but I was a little nervous going to 1200 metres so soon,” Gollan said.
“She’s shown her versatility now as she’s won on both good and slow tracks.”
Shamurt is part-owned by her breeder Cliff Horton who has been a long-time client of Gollan and will now be aimed at the Group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes and possibly Group 1 J J Atkins at Doomben during the winter carnival.
“Cliff bred her and he and I got back to my days when I first started training at Toowoomba,” Gollan said.
“She feels like she’ll make a nice filly for the Sires’ Produce and I can’t see why she won’t run 1600 metres so that brings the J J Atkins into calculations.”
Racing Queensland webnews April 7