By Glenn Davis
Trainer Barry Lockwood will be striving to claim his maiden 3200-metre winner at only his second attempt when Skytrek lines up in the Group 3 Queen’s Cup at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Skytrek will step up to 3200 metres for the first time in his 32-start career after rediscovering his best form with a gutsy Benchmark win on a heavy track at the Sunshine Coast last Saturday.
“He’s pulled up terrific and will back-up,” declared Lockwood.
Lockwood has only ever had one runner in a 3200-metre race when Algonquin Club failed in the 1988 Melbourne Cup won by Empire Rose.
Lockwood said Skytrek lacked maturity early in his career but he’s improved with age, albeit it slowly.
“He was a weak horse early on in his career,” he said.
“I’d give him a gallop and he’d stop eating for a few days.
“But he’s grown up since then and matured a lot and he now licks his feed bin out every day.”
Lockwood is not concerned with the 3200-metre trip with Skytrek and is confident of a strong performance from the six-year-old.
“It would be better if it was 4800 metres,” Lockwood said.
“He’s not the fastest horse around but he just keeps going.
“I couldn’t be any happier with him. When he got beaten in the Tatt’s Cup at his previous run he got flattened at the start.
“I think he’s a real chance.”
Skytrek won last year’s Lismore Cup (2100m) and is an older brother to Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap placegetter Champagne Cuddles.
Their mother, Sky Cuddle, raced only once past 1600 metres when she finished fourth to Makybe Diva in her racetrack swansong in the Group 1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in 2005.
Despite the race’s non-claiming conditions, Lockwood has retained apprentice Stephanie Lacey who was successful aboard Skytrek when she rode him for the first time last week.
“He can be a funny horse to ride sometimes with a new rider,” Lockwood said.
“He doesn’t bounce out and get rolling.
“He took about five furlongs to get going last week but he finished it off strongly.”
Lockwood is likely to give Skytrek a breather after the Queen’s Cup and will aim him for the Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) at the Gold Coast in January.
Racing Queensland webnews July 11