By Glenn Davis
Caloundra trainer Darryl Hansen is hoping it’s a case of de ja vu when Balboa Rocks attempts back-to-back wins in the Mackay Cup on Saturday.
Hansen has been a regular visitor in recent years for the central and northern winter carnivals and sent Balboa Rocks up last year to contest the lucrative Northern Crown stayer’s series.
Hansen believes Balboa Rocks is an ideal Northern Crown horse, but narrowly missed the opening leg when the four-year-old was a close fourth in last Saturday’s Rockhampton Cup.
The Northern Crown stayer’s series offers a bonus of $150,000 to connections of any horse that wins three of the designated five race series.
The bonus rises to $200,000 if one of those races includes the Far North Queensland Amateur Cup.
Balboa Rocks, winner of the Listed Sunshine Coast Cup in January, has similar form going into this year’s Mackay Cup as last year when he finished third to Mamselle Corday in the Rockhampton Cup.
This year the five-year-old was just behind the placegetters when fourth on a heavy track behind the Tony Gollan-trained Silvera in last week’s Rockhampton Cup.
“He got a long way back in the Rocky Cup from his wide draw and got to the outside but it was on the worst part of the track when the fast lane was about four off the fence,” Hansen said.
Balboa Rocks carried 58kgs in last year’s Mackay Cup victory and Hansen believes he is well weighted with two kilograms less this year after Cup weights were compressed with Ipswich Cup winner Bergerac allotted topweight with 60.5kgs.
Stablemate Monsieur Gustave may chase the Northern Crown Series for sprinters and is backing up in the Newmarket Handicap the same day.
Monsieur Gustave finished sixth to Wonder Boom in the Newmarket Handicap at Rockhampton last Friday.
“Monsieur Gustave is the class runner in the Newmarket and his first up run in Brisbane when he ran fifth in the Healy was enormous,” Hansen said.
“Things went a bit pear shaped in the Rocky Newmarket when he got flattened.
“I was very happy with his run considering all the circumstances and he’ll be hard to beat.”
Racing Queensland webnews July 11