By Glenn Davis
Weetwood day brings back fond memories for trainer Michael Nolan who hopes to kick-off the gala Darling Downs feature meeting on a winning note in the QTIS Two-Year-Old Handicap at Toowoomba on Saturday.
Nolan has five runners engaged on the program and rates promising colt Devils Marbles as his best chance and hopes a win could lift the stable’s confidence for a third Weetwood Handicap victory with outsider Upstart Pride.
Nolan has won the Weetwood three times with Miss Imagica in 2012-13 and Jumbo Prince who dead-heated with the Ben Currie-trained Col ‘n’ Lil two years ago.
Devils Marbles is owned by Nolan’s long-time client Dr Kim McCasker who first teamed up with Nolan to win the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 with Laurie’s Lottery in 1999.
Nolan has been in good form of late and is chasing his second two-year-old metropolitan winner in successive weeks following Miss Cavallo’s victory at Doomben last Saturday.
Devils Marbles was a last start maiden winner at Doomben on January 2 which followed a debut placing on a heavy track at the Sunshine Coast in mid-December.
“We’ve got five in at Toowoomba and Devils Marbles is my best chance,” Nolan said.
“He’s a good horse and Kim would like to step him up over longer races after we get over Weetwood day.
“If his form is good you never know there might be something for him during the winter carnival.”
Nolan said Devils Marbles had improved considerably since his debut at the Sunshine Coast.
“He ran on a bog track in his first run and didn’t know what he was doing then he finished off the race strongly after copping a bad check when he won at Doomben,” he said.
Meanwhile Nolan concedes Upstart Pride is racing well below his best but is not dismissing his Weetwood chances.
Upstart Pride ran fifth in the 2017 Weetwood won by Amanaat when coming off a win in the Listed Goldmarket Handicap at the Gold Coast.
However, this year the seven-year-old’s form is well down on previous years and was trapped wide before running last in the Goldmarket on March 23.
“His form is terrible but with a good alley and on his home track he could turn things around if he can find the rail,” he said.
“Nothing has gone right for him in a lot of his races this campaign and he’s the type of horses that needs to find the rail.”
Racing Queensland webnews April 4