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Sunshine Coast | Sunshine Coast Turf Club | 4:03 PM
By Glenn Davis
Trainer Tony Gollan is confident exciting three-year-old Knight Mariner can claim a belated Stakes victory in the Group 3 Winx Guineas at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
The Winx Guineas (1600m) was previously known as the Sunshine Coast Guineas but was renamed in honour of champion mare Winx who won the race in 2015.
Gollan, who recently became the first to train more than 100 metropolitan winners in a season, has his seventh Brisbane trainer’s premiership sewn up with 104.5 winners thus far.
He began training at Toowoomba 21 years ago before moving to Brisbane in 2012.
Knight Mariner has started only five times for two wins but Gollan has predicted a bright staying future for him.
The son of top staying sire Tavistock won first-up in a 1350-metre maiden at Doomben on June 3 then was most impressive scoring against his own age over 1609 metres at Ipswich three weeks later.
“This is his toughest test and it’s a big step up,” Gollan said.
“It was a good win at Ipswich but it wasn’t Saturday grade.”
SIRROMET QTIS Three-Years-Old Handicap 1690m
Gollan had earmarked Knight Mariner as his Queensland Derby horse this winter but the race was scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gollan had earlier planned to aim Knight Mariner for the summer three-year-old races but he missed the series after being sidelined with a minor knee injury and was later gelded.
“We were aiming him for the summer staying races when he needed surgery to remove a bone chip,” Gollan said.
“I thought he was the right type for the Queensland Derby but when it was scrapped, we just took our time with him.”
Gollan believes the decision to geld Knight Mariner has been a key part behind his form resurgence.
“I think he’s potentially going to be a good stayer later on,” Gollan said.
“It might be a little early to take him south for the spring but I won’t rule it out until we see how he goes on Saturday.”
If Knight Mariner is successful it will give Gollan his eighth Group 3 victory and his 63rd overall stakes winner which includes three Group 2’s and three in Group 1 company.
Gollan will also be chasing his 50th Listed win with Krone who was a late nomination for the Glasshouse Handicap over 1400 metres.
The former Victorian mare has started only four times for Gollan, finishing second in the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes at Doomben in May before a last start second in Group 3 Sapphire Stakes at Doomben on June 27.
Gollan won the Glasshouse Handicap with Alma’s Fury in 2013.