By Glenn Davis
Talented Toowoomba three-year-old Trusty Lad will launch his Queensland Derby campaign when the colt makes his comeback at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Trusty Lad hasn’t raced since winning the Eagle Way Stayers Series Final at Eagle Farm in late December and will resume in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Plate (1400m).
The Eagle Way series was designed by Racing Queensland as a stepping stone for three-year-olds headed towards either the Queensland Derby or Queensland Oaks and was a big hit with local trainers
Toowoomba-based Kropp kicked off the Brisbane winter carnival with a feature win from Rosendahl Red in the Toowoomba Guineas last Saturday and has the Group 1 Queensland Oaks in mind with the filly while Trusty Lad will target the Group 1 Queensland Derby.
Kropp pulled a master training stroke in the Eagle Way Stayers Series Final when he used blinkers for the first time on Trusty Lad but has decided to remove them for his first up assignment.
“We used them last start to help him concentrate but I’m taking them off for Saturday as I don’t want him to fire up so early in his preparation,” Kropp said.
“If, at some stage down the track we feel they should go back on then they will.”
Kropp is delighted how Trusty Lad spelled and has given the son of Reliable Man a barrier trial at Toowoomba.
“He ran third in the trial and it was quite a good effort against some speedy horses,” he said.
"He seems to have come back from his break a lot stronger but he’s no bigger in size.
“He seems to be going good and is looking forward to racing again.”
Kropp plans to run Trusty Lad every fortnight and will take the traditional route via the Rough Habit Plate and Grand Prix Stakes before the Group 1 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm on June 8.
“I’m very keen to see how he goes first-up over 1400 metres and I’ll be happy to see him hit the line strongly,” he said.
“He’s not wound up for this and he’ll get fitter with every run this campaign.”
Kropp paid $NZ180,000 for Trusty Lad at the Ready To Run sales in New Zealand as a young horse and he’s already returned owners Roland and Sharon Hovey more than $132,000 in prizemoney.
Kropp will be looking for his first Group win with Trusty Lad and Rosendahl Red during the winter carnival.
“I’ve had a lot of Brisbane winners but the best I’ve had in big races has been a couple of Listed placings,” Kropp said.
Racing Queensland webnews April 10