By Isaac Murphy
The Group 3 Golden Ticket brings together 16 class acts, who this week start their path towards winning the series and a spot in the Group 1 Gold Bullion.
There’s no surprises that three of the 16 come from premier trainer Tony Brett’s kennel; Sentenced, Hara’s Clyde and What A Debacle all look ready to make some noise in their four dog heats and hopefully move on to next week’s match race.
“I love the concept, it’s a little different with the fastest two going through from this week’s four-dog heats, before the final eight pair off head-to-head in their match races next week, but I think it’s something the trainers and public will really get behind,” he said.
“It’s something unique that we only have once on the calendar and you want to be involved in races like that, as a trainer I think it just gets you even more excited.
“To have three dogs picked in the best 16 in Queensland and beyond is a blessing and something I’m not taking for granted, I think they’ve all got their claims and are ready to go.”
Brett’s top hope according to the bookies in young superstar Sentenced who will look to shake off a roughhouse affair last time out at Ipswich and get back to his Queensland Derby-winning form.
“He was a bit tender after his run in the Ipswich Corporate Dollars, it hasn’t been the perfect preparation, but he got a gallop on Sunday and then again on Tuesday which should have him up and about,” he said.
“It’s a funny old heat, you’ve got Speranza who can run the hands off the clock, Cooper Dooper who hasn’t started in a while and Mayoress who can jump and lead but is maybe a bit vulnerable late - there’s no easy beats.
“If he’s where I think he’s at, I’d be surprised to not see him go through in the first two this week, I think the rail really suits him and he’s just busting to chase.”
The dogs come out of boxes one, three, five and seven this week and even in the smaller field, Brett loves his chances off the pole.
“Box one looks like gold for us in that heat, he’s been jumping a lot better and if he can just find the back of Mayoress he should get a lovely run into the race and open up down the back,” he said.
“The slight setback at Ipswich just puts a little bit of doubt in your mind but take that out of the equation and he was breaking the clock each time out.
“I think he can win this week, but I’d be more than happy with second and a spot in the match races next week, I don’t expect him to get down to 29.6 tomorrow night, but hope to have him there for the final.”