By Glenn Davis
With State of Origin just around the corner, trainer Tony Gollan is hoping to restore Queensland pride against the interstate and overseas winter carnival invaders at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Gollan will have runners in all four main features on the nine-event program with A Man To Match in the Grand Prix Stakes, Garibaldi (BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes), Outback Barbie (Kingsford-Smith Cup) and Vega One (Fred Best Classic).
Interstate and New Zealand gallopers have won the bulk of the winter races so far with Chris Waller, Tony Pike, John Thompson, Peter and Paul Snowden, James Cummings and co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace dominating the feature races.
Gollan has been Queensland’s best performer following wins from Perudo (Listed Bill Carter) and Vega One (Listed Qld Day Stks) while Toby Edmonds fought off the invaders with Tyzone in last week’s Group 3 BRC Sprint.
Gollan also has his unbeaten sprinter Zoustyle up his sleeve for the remaining winter sprints.
Darryl Hansen also won the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas with Pennino while Garry Newham won the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet with Winning Ways.
Gollan expects Garibaldi to improve on his last start fourth to Dubious in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) at Doomben on May 11.
“He’s going great and he’ll enjoy going to Eagle Farm,” Gollan said.
“He copped bad interference when bumped at a crucial stage at the 200 metres against Dubious and I expect him to be hitting the line well.”
Gollan was disappointed with Outback Barbie’s barrier 16 in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup and expected her to get back in the second half of the field before unleashing her customary finish.
“She’s got a terrible alley (16) so I’d say she’ll be in the second half of the field,” he said.
"She ran super in the Doomben 10,000 and if Jeff (Lloyd) can get her into a good position I think she’ll run well again.”
Gollan was more optimistic about Vega One’s chances in the Fred Best Classic despite gate 12.
“It’s not the best draw but he’s very versatile,” Gollan said.
“He can take up a position anywhere in the field and I’ve got no worries about him running 1400 metres.
“If he can win this he automatically qualifies for the Stradbroke and if he doesn’t get into the Stradbroke, he’ll run in the Queensland Guineas.”
Gollan also isn’t overlooking A Man To Match’s chances it the Grand Prix Stakes following his last start second in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate at Doomben two weeks ago.
“He’s come along really well since the Rough Habit and he’s ready to go in this,” he said.
“It was a terrific run last time and he’s improved a lot since then.”
Racing Queensland webnews May 23