Leading Sydney horseman Paul Fitzpatrick is no stranger to success in Queensland.
Over the years, names like Lombo Pocket Watch, Rohan Home, Marquess De Posh, Dance Of Life, Ima Spicey Lombo and Shantahliatrailblaza have all proven triumphant in feature events in the Sunshine State.
And while his trips north in recent years haven’t been as frequent compared to previous years, the master trainer is planning a return trip in the coming months.
The 2018 Queensland winter carnival is being earmarked for several of his talented team.
And leading the charge is in-form pacer Match In Heaven.
The richly talented five-year-old scored a thrilling victory in last night’s (Thursday) in the Gr.2 $50,000 Schweppes Renshaw Cup at Penrith defeating another likely winter carnival campaigner in Ultimate Art by a half-head margin.
The Somebeachsomewhere entire rated 1:56.8 for the 2525m event – well outside of the race record set last year by Tiger Tara at 1:55.2.
It was the second time the Fitzpatrick have claimed the provincial feature after Rohan Home scored back in 2011.
“This horse is absolutely flying and the victory was well-deserved, it’s always great to win this event and we’re thrilled to grab it again. The Brisbane winter carnival features are definitely part of his program going forward and his current form warrants the trip.” Fitzpatrick said.
Match In Heaven is raced by his breeder, real estate mogul John Starr.
Brisbane targets will include the Gr.2 $50,000 Garrards Sunshine Sprint on July 14 while the Gr.1 $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship is scheduled for the following week.
Both events will be staged at Albion Park.
Racing Queensland have announced cash bonuses for the winter carnival including a $50,000 prize if a horse can win both the Sunshine Sprint and Blacks A Fake.
“I’ve been thinking about a Brisbane campaign for some time and Match In Heaven is the mainstay for the trip north, his form is very good including his “PB” winning effort at Menangle two starts ago while his Renshaw Cup victory clearly underlines his efforts lately.
“He was brilliant young horse but hit a massive flat-spot during his four-year-old season, I’m not really sure what happened but he’s clearly returned to his best form in recent times. He’s only a little guy but he’s got great speed and loves following a good pace.
“We’ll bring up a few others with him and maybe a filly like Prophesy could be an Oaks possibility but we’ll confirm things a little closer to the time.”
The 2018 Racing Queensland winter carnival officially begins on May 23 and concludes on July 27.
Chris Barsby | RQ Web News | April 13