By Glenn Davis
Trainer Tony Gollan remains confident Ef Troop will live up to expectations despite an awkward barrier when the gelding launches his spring carnival campaign at Doomben on Saturday.
Ef Troop drew barrier nine in the field of 10 and will carry topweight of 60 kilograms in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap (1110m).
Unbeaten stablemate Cailini drew gate eight but may not run as the Ipswich winner is also entered for the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.
It will be Ef Troop's first appearance since the Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill in April when the son of Spirit Of Boom finished 12th, only five lengths behind winner Estijaab.
Gollan never contemplated using a claiming apprentice to offset Ef Troop’s big weight.
“He’s grown quite a bit since the Golden Slipper and he’s still got more filling out to come,” Gollan said.
“It’s the biggest weight he’s carried but he was racing in set weight races mostly as a two-year-old.”
Gollan hasn’t confirmed Ef Troop’s spring goals but the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 22 remains an option.
“I’ve got an idea where he’ll go but the Golden Rose is an option or he can go straight to Melbourne,” Gollan said.
“His barrier is a bit of a concern as it’s never nice drawing nine at Doomben.
“He’ll need to be on his game if he’s to win but he should be able to get into his rhythm and stride so I’m not overly concerned with the draw.”
Ef Troop, who is eligible for the Magic Millions at the Gold Coast in January, indicated he was primed for a forward showing with a brilliant barrier trial win at Doomben last month.
“His trial win was very good and he’s come on since,” Gollan said.
“He’ll run well and hopefully live up to our expectations but there’s still room for improvement after this run.”
Gollan has rewarded Brad Stewart with the ride on Ef Troop in his return.
Stewart has been in excellent form and has a brilliant strike rate for Gollan since being given the opportunity to ride for the stable a few months ago.
From his last 15 rides for Gollan, Stewart has recorded eight wins and four placings.
Racing Queensland webnews August 9