By Glenn Davis
Can unbeaten Toowoomba filly Gem Of Scotland prove she’s a worthy contender for the rich juvenile features during the Brisbane winter carnival?
That’s a question trainer Rex Lipp hopes will be answered when Gem Of Scotland runs in the Listed Bill Carter Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Gem Of Scotland is currently the $3.30 favourite in the Bill Carter Stakes but faces a huge task to maintain her unblemished record from a horror barrier 16.
The daughter of Rothesay hasn’t raced since stretching her winning sequence to four with a six and a half length demolition on a heavy track at Doomben on April 20.
Jockey Jimmy Orman has ridden Gem Of Scotland in three of her four wins and was aboard when she strolled home by a similar margin in a 925-metre barrier trial at Toowoomba on Tuesday.
Lipp is confident Gem Of Scotland will be competitive but concedes the barrier is a concern.
“It’s going to be tough from out there but she’ll be competitive,” Lipp said.
“There’s a lot of pace in the race and any one of six horses can lead.
“I doubt my filly will lead and I’m hoping to get a good sit in behind so she can settle and hit the line strongly.
“She hasn’t raced for a month but she only had a week off after her last run and she’s been working and trialling well.”
Lipp will be guided by Gem Of Scotland’s performance before deciding whether to push on to the Group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm next week.
“She’s never backed-up before but she’s a good doer and I think she has the constitution to do it,” he said.
“It’s a golden opportunity to win a Group 2 race, particularly for when she goes to stud.”
Lipp sees no reason why Gem Of Scotland can’t extend in distance to 1400 metres in the Sires' and hasn’t ruled out a shot at the Group 1 J J Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm next month.
“It’s too early to talk about the J J Atkins and I’m just taking it race by race with her,” he said.
Lipp has produced many top sprinters during his career including Laurinel Argie, Star Shiraz and Archikeelya while his best stayer was Tinto who gave him his second Group 1 in the Queensland Oaks in 2014.
Star Shiraz gave Lipp his first win at the highest level in the Sires’ Produce Stakes in 2004 when the race was a Group 1 race.
Racing Queensland webnews May 17