By Glenn Davis
Caloundra trainer Damien Batters has heeded the advice of champion jockey Jeff Lloyd and will target late winter carnival Stakes races with promising gelding Leroytheconqueror.
Batters, 38, is chasing his first metropolitan Saturday winner with Leroytheconqueror who tackles the QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Batters is a fulltime trainer with seven horses in work but hopes to expand with the addition of a few horses from Victoria in coming weeks.
“I’ve got seven horses in work but I’ve got nine boxes and two more are coming up from Victoria shortly,” Batters said.
“I think nine or ten horses is a nice number to manage.”
Batters holds no fear of a wet track for Leroytheconqueror who was a last start fourth to the Tony Gollan-trained Macewen at Eagle Farm on February 2.
Doomben was in the heavy 8 range following rain in Brisbane this week.
“He’s been unlucky in all three runs this campaign and with a bit of luck he should be unbeaten,” Batters said.
“His last run was fantastic and Jeff did a marvelous job.
“His sectionals were very quick and Jeff thinks he could make a Stakes horse so he’ll go out for a break after this run and get ready for some of the late winter carnival races.
“The track coming up heavy is a bit of a surprise but he’s out of a Show A Heart mare so it shouldn’t bother him.”
Batters is not widely known in Queensland after gaining his trainers’ licence five years ago.
“I’m originally from South Australia and I grew up with horses,” Batters said.
“I got my licence five years ago before I went back to Adelaide for a few years.
“I was training there and had a few winners before I came back to Queensland about two years ago.
“I’ve always had a passion for horses. Before going to school each morning in the Adelaide Hills, I used to work around the stables of Vern Reizki.”
The late Vern Reizki is best known as the trainer of 1972 Great Eastern Steeple Chase winner, The Cent.
Batters believes Leroytheconqueror was unlucky not to win at the Sunshine Coast and Ipswich last month before his Eagle Farm fourth.
“He was a bit stiff when he ran second at Caloundra three runs back when the run he was going for closed and the same happened at Ipswich when he ran fourth,” he said.
In latest TAB markets, Leroytheconqueror is a favourite at $3.30, marginally ahead of Boomtown Lass at $3.50.
Racing Queensland webnews February 8