By Glenn Davis
Trainer David Vandyke had a quiet but successful Brisbane winter carnival and is now hoping for his first Townsville Cup winner with Savwell at Cluden Park on Saturday.
Vandyke targeted a handful of the Brisbane winter riches and came away with a Group 3 and Listed wins from his highly talented three-year-old Baccarat Bay in the Sunshine Coast Guineas and Princess Stakes at Caloundra.
Vandyke has never had a Townsville Cup runner but the lure of the $87,000 first prize in the Townsville Cup (2000m) was too hard to resist.
“I've never taken a horse to Townsville before but the prizemoney is too good not to go there now,” Vandyke said.
“These races in central and north Queensland are getting harder every year because of the added prizemoney.”
Savwell was sent north for the Rockhampton Cup (1600m) and did a great job to finish second to the Tony Gollan-trained Silvera, who franked the form by winning the Listed Tattersall’s Mile at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
The five-year-old then finished third to Toowoomba’s Bergerac in the Mackay Cup (2000m) on July 13.
“He’s come through his two runs up north in great order and I’ve always wanted to run him in races around 2000 metres,” Vandyke said.
“They went a bit too quick for him in the Mackay Cup when he got a long way back but he finished off the race very strongly.
“It was a good solid run but we meet Hardern who finished second in the Mackay Cup on two kilos worse terms.
“I think Savwell will be hard to beat and his weight will be a lot easier for Brad Pengelly to make.”
Hardern is trained by Townsville’s Michael Geaney who won last year’s Townsville Cup with Lady Skills.
Vandyke said he hoped the form out of the Rockhampton Cup would prove an omen.
“We sent him up there hoping he would pay his way and have a bit of fun,” he said.
“He’s done that now and hopefully he can win this time.
"Silvera won the Rocky Cup and went home to win the Tatt's Mile so the form is good."
Vandyke’s last trip north was with former Sydneysider Emerald City who had his first start for the stable in the 2016 Rockhampton Cup.
“The only time I’ve taken a horse north before was with Emerald City three years ago when we came home with our tails between our legs when he finished fourth,” he said.
Racing Queensland webnews July 25