By Glenn Davis
Group 1 winning trainer Paul Butterworth believes in-form jockey Matt McGillivray holds the key to his chances of claiming a second Newmarket Handicap with Wonder Boom at Callaghan Park on Friday.
Butterworth won the Group 1 J J Atkins with Capital Gain in 2017, the same year he took out the Newmarket Handicap in Rockhampton with Counter Meal.
McGillivray won his first Group 1 aboard Winning Ways in the Queensland Oaks during the Brisbane winter carnival and continued his fine form winning aboard River Racer in last week’s Listed Glasshouse Handicap at the Sunshine Coast.
McGillivray will partner Wonder Boom from barrier nine in the 1300-metre central Queensland feature, replacing apprentice Adin Thompson.
“He’s been plagued with bad barriers all his career and he’s got another awkward one on Friday,” Butterworth said.
“From 33 starts, 24 of them have been on the outside or near the outside.”
Butterworth believes Wonder Boom should have won his last start when he finished third to Drumbeat’s Choice in a 1200-metre Open at Rockhampton on June 21.
“I’ve got no doubt he should have won last time but he’s a hard horse to ride and Andrew couldn’t hold him up,” Butterworth said.
“He got turned sideways and had to come five wide from the 600 metres.
“Matt (McGillivray) has ridden him plenty of times and knows how to hold him up until the 500 metres when he’ll go searching for a run.
“If Matt can get him to relax, I think he can win and I’m confident he can turn the tables on his last start performance.”
Butterworth believes 1300 metres will be testing for Wonder Boom but again is backing McGillivray’s judgement.
“I think 1300 metres is probably his outer limit but Matt is a good judge of pace,” he said.
Butterworth rated Wonder Boom superior to his former Newmarket winner, Counter Meal.
“Counter Meal was an old warrior but Wonder Boom has got more ability,” he said.
“If you galloped the two on the track, Wonder Boom would beat him every time.”
Butterworth rates the Tony Gollan-trained Natch and Toowoomba’s Niccanova as the main threats.
Racing Queensland webnews July 4