By Glenn Davis
Rockhampton trainer Jared Wehlow is hopeful of an early wedding gift from former Godolphin sprinter Ozark in the Cairns Newmarket at Cannon Park on Saturday.
Ozark continued his great run with barriers in his three starts since transferring to Wehlow’s stables last month when he drew gate three for the 1400-metre feature.
Although Ozark is yet to be tried past 1300 metres, Wehlow is confident the son of Lonhro can make amends for his narrow defeat in last week’s Cleveland Bay Handicap in Townsville.
Wehlow, 31, has been training for seven years and will marry fiancée, former jockey Alisha Taylor, 27, in Toowoomba in November.
“The wedding is in November and Ozark is part-owned by Cody Morgan who will be one of my groomsman,” Wehlow said.
“We’ve been blessed with good barriers since he came to me.
“He had barrier one at his first start when he won at Mackay then he came into barrier one when he was just beaten by Mr Attitude in the Cleveland Bay.
“It’s his first go over 1400 metres but the barrier will be a big help.
“He had never been over 1300 metres either before he ran second in the Cleveland Bay.”
Ozark will again be ridden by Melbourne-based jockey Noel Callow who is a regular visitor to north Queensland each winter carnival.
Wehlow is confident Ozark can deny connections of rival Mr Attitude, the $100,000 Northern Crown bonus for sprinters in the Cairns Newmarket.
“Unfortunately, Ozark can't win the bonus and Mr Attitude is our biggest danger but I’m confident we can turn the tables on him,” Wehlow said.
Ozark had only one start, winning a Muswellbrook Open over 900 metres last November before being spelled and later sent to Wehlow to prepare for the North Queensland sprints.
“Cody and his father Glenn own him after they bought him off Godolphin at a tried horse sale,” Wehlow said.
“It’ will be a nice early celebration for our wedding if he can win.”
Wehlow’s biggest career win was in the $100,000 Anniversary Cup at the Sunshine Coast with Daph ‘N’ Alf in 2015.