By Glenn Davis
Trainer Kelly Schweida believes Stella Ombra is not yet in the same form he displayed to win in Sydney last winter but is hopeful of another victory at Doomben on Saturday.
Schweida will have three runners at Doomben with Stella Ombra leading the charge as the gelding chases his ninth career win in the Open Handicap (1050m).
Oink will run in the Benchmark 85 Handicap (1200m) while Double Superlative lines-up in the Class 3 Plate (1200m).
Schweida also had Desireable Miss in the Class 3 Plate but scratched her after she drew widely and she will now run at the Gold Coast along with stablemate Beaudacious.
Schweida proved a shrewd judge when Stella Ombra won a Benchmark race on a heavy track at Randwick last June in his first start for a month.
Stella Ombra returned home immediately after the Randwick triumph but wasn’t home long before he was back on the road heading to Rockhampton for the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Callaghan Park on June 22.
However, Stella Ombra didn’t have the same luck as in Sydney and could only manage fifth to fellow Brisbane galloper Counter Meal in the Newmarket.
Schweida is delighted with Stella Ombra who is coming off a last start fourth, beaten less than two lengths, by Snitzkraft in the Listed Falvelon Handicap at Doomben last month.
“He’s only had two runs back and he’s coming along nicely,” Schweida said.
“He ran last in his first start back in the (Listed) Bribie Handicap but for some reason wanted to hang.
“He wasn’t far off them last time after he lost a plate in the run and he just petered on his run in the last 50 metres.
“He’s not quite at the same level as when he won in Sydney but he’s not far off it.
“He had a long campaign last preparation and he came back into work very fat after a long break.
“This run should top him right off and I won’t be afraid to take him back to Sydney again at some stage.”
Schweida is hoping for some rain to improve the chances of his three runners but the weather forecast shows no sign of a change.
“I would have liked a bit of rain and for some give in the track for all my runners,” he said.
“Doomben hasn’t had much racing lately so I’m hoping there might be some give there.”
Stella Ombra will be ridden by apprentice Tiffany Brooker replacing Damian Browne.
“Damian would have been on him but he’s decided to take a week off to be with his family as it’s the last week of the school holidays and that’s fair enough,” Schweida said.
“Tiff has won on him and she still has a 1.5 kilo claim.”
Racing Queensland webnews January 19