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Doomben Racecourse, 75 Hampden Street, Ascot / Sat 17 Nov
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5222 Gayndah-Mt Perry Road, Mount Perry / Sat 17 Nov
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By Isaac Murphy
Victorian trainer Robert Britton has conquered Perth and Sandown with his talented kennel of stayers and has now turned his attention to Queensland's best in the $110,000 UBET Group 1 Gold Cup at Albion Park on Thursday night.
Britton is in the unique position of having three of Australia's premier stayers in his kennel, and he is not afraid to test them against each other in Group 1s across the country.
"I'm lucky enough to have a group of dogs at that elite level, travel is just a part of it," Britton said.
The kennel suits up three runners in the UBET Gold Cup (710m) with heat winner Benali drawing Box 5. Fellow qualifiers and race favourites Rippin' Sam (Box 1) and Tornado Tears (Box 3), complete a formidable trio for the Britton kennel.
Britton said Rippin' Sam and Tornado tears both looked out of sorts in their first run at the track last week, but was confident they had taken improvement.
"I was really pleased those two managed to qualify given they didn't really show their best," he said.
"They've settled in and had a really solid week up here now, so I'm fairly confident they will front up."
Britton said coming to Queensland presented a new challenge for his dogs and he was well aware of the local talent.
"We knew coming up here there were two really quality stayers in Tony Apap's dog (Jalapeno) and Champagne Sally. It's always a test meeting new competition," he said.
Britton said he found it incredibly difficult to split his runners, but gave each of them a strong claim.
"Each of them has their own racing pattern. Benali would have to be a good leader, she's not as strong but has an enormous first couple of sectionals," he said.
"Rippin' Sam and Tornado Tears are like chalk and cheese when they race together, one tries to lead and the other is out the back, I'm still trying to figure out who the better dog is."
Given everything goes well Thursday night, Britton said his trio would likely stay in Brisbane for the near future, with an eye to the Superstayers Invitational on June 21.
"There's not a lot for us at home right now so if they pull up alright hopefully we can get an invitation," he said.
Britton explained his affinity for stayers had grown over time, with results yielding further kennel mates.
"I like stayers and really enjoy training them, I had a bit of success with a few early on and now you get owners ringing up knowing you've had success in the past," he said.
Britton's trio will be joined by Tony Apap's heat winner Jalapeno (Box 6), Selena Zammitt's Gelantipy Gold (Box 2), Terrance Aukram's Shoes to Fill (Box 4), Tony Brett's former NSW runner Ebby Ripper (Box 7), and the Bill Elson trained Cyn's Magic (Box 8).