By Glenn Davis
The Group 2 Hollindale Stakes has been a graveyard for Queensland trained horses but trainer Liam Birchley hopes to end the drought for the locals at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The Birchley-trained Fit For Purpose is the only Queenslander in the 1800-metre weight-for-age feature while Brian Smith’s Order Again is second emergency.
The Hollindale Stakes has been dominated by interstate and New Zealand gallopers since it was first run in 1989 with the Chris Jordan-trained Fulmonti the only local success in 2009.
The Hollindale Stakes is regarded as the main curtain raiser to the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 18.
Fit For Purpose finished just ahead of Order Again when the pair clashed on a heavy track last start in the Listed Tails Stakes at Doomben on April 20.
Fit For Purpose ran on strongly to finish third while Order Again was a close-up fourth.
Birchley is aiming Fit For Purpose for the Doomben Cup and was pleased with the four-year-old’s effort in the Tails Stakes when backing up a week after finishing fourth at Eagle Farm.
“He hit the line well and it was a good run considering he was backing up,” Birchley said.
“It was the lesser of two evils to back him up rather than wait three weeks.
“He’s headed to the Doomben Cup but he’s never been over 2000 metres yet.
“The Hollindale is a tough race but he’s going good and I suppose we (Queensland) are due to win it.”
Smith knew Order Again was a borderline chance of making the Hollindale Stakes field and is pinning his hopes on two scratchings to secure a start.
Order Again bounced back to his best form winning second-up over 1600 metres at Eagle Farm last month before being bogged down on the heavy track in the Tails Stakes.
Smith also has the Doomben Cup in mind with Order Again as well as the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.
“I thought he’d win last start so I was disappointed with the run,” Smith said.
“But he didn’t appreciate the heavy track and got bogged down.
“The main thing is that he came through the run and is fit and well.
“There’s a lot of options coming up for him if he doesn’t get a start in the Hollindale.”
Racing Queensland webnews May 1