By Glenn Davis
Trainer Paul Butterworth is hoping the central Queensland form stacks up again when Rockhampton Newmarket winner Wonder Boom returns to run in the Open Handicap at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Wonder Boom gave Butterworth his second win in the $100,000 Newmarket at Callaghan Park on July 5 after winning with Counter Meal in 2017, the same year he claimed the Group 1 J J Atkins with Capital Gain.
Butterworth decided against accepting with Wonder Boom in Thursday’s Cleveland Bay Handicap at Townsville as the north Queensland feature didn’t fit in with plans to aim the gelding for the $1 million QTIS Magic Millions at the Gold Coast in January.
“The travel to north Queensland wouldn’t have worried him,” Butterworth said.
“He loves travelling and likes the trip to Rockhampton where he’s had five starts for three wins and two placings.
“He’s very unlucky not to be unbeaten in his five Rockhampton starts as he should have won the two races he was placed in.
“I want to give him six weeks break after this run to prepare for the Magic Millions and if he went to Townsville it’d be too much of a rush.
“He needs to go into the Magic Millions after four or five starts and he takes a lot of work to get him ready.”
Wonder Boom is trying to replicate the feat of the Tony Gollan-trained Silvera who won the Rockhampton Cup before returning home to claim the Listed Tattersall’s Mile at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
Regular rider Matt McGillivray, who won his first Group 1 aboard Winning Ways in the Queensland Oaks during the winter carnival, will miss the ride due to suspension and will be replaced by Jim Byrne.
“The key with him is to ride him quietly and I’m putting a lugging bit on him for the first time,” Butterworth said.
“He used to race in a norton bit but he’s responded to the lugging bit in his last two gallops.”
The Rockhampton Newmarket was the first time Wonder Boom had raced beyond 1200 metres but Butterworth is confident the four-year-old will cope with the extra trip 200 metres in the Open Handicap.
“He’s never raced over 1400 metres before so he’ll need to relax in the back half of the field and be strong late,” he said.
“He was very strong at the finish in the Newmarket and if he can relax like he did then he’ll be hard to beat.”
Racing Queensland webnews July 24