By Isaac Murphy
Tornado Tears affirmed his superstar status in his first visit to Queensland in 2018 and now the Rob Britton stayer is back looking to repeat the dose.
The dog affectionately known as 'Batman' took all before him with a clean sweep of the Group One Gold Cup, Superstayers Invitational and the 710-metre track record last season and his title defences get under way in this Thursday night’s Gold Cup heats.
“When you’ve got a Group calibre stayer like this you tend to follow the races as they come, if we kept him at home there would be nothing for him,” Britton said.
"That’s not why we are here though, taking into account what he was able to achieve here last year winning The Gold Cup, breaking the track record we’re back for another Group One and with the injection of prize money it was a no brainer.”
Britton said the dog has fallen short of his lofty standards recently, plagued by bad luck in his last two Group One finals; The Association Cup and his last start Sandown Cup.
But the trainer has no doubt the dog is primed to build on his legacy.
“He’s not getting any younger and there are always new kids on the block trying to knock you off that pedestal, but I still know he’s at the top of his game and it’ll take a hell of a dog to take him down,” Britton said.
“High speed wise I think he’s going as well as ever, he may have lost a little confidence getting knocked around in The Association Cup and the Sandown Cup Final where he hasn’t been able to be in that leading brigade and that will be his challenge tomorrow night."
'Batman' jumps from box six in a heat that features fellow Victorian star Dyna Chancer, the accomplished Little Digger and Queensland’s own Double Gee and Britton said he’d have to be on his gave from a sticky draw to progress.
“I admit I was a bit nervous when I saw him come up with the six, it’s the same box he came out of when he finished at the tail last start, we’re just going to need that little bit of luck early and he’ll run a race,” Britton said.
“If he can find himself in the top half of the field going past the winning post the first time I’ve got no doubt his strength will bring him home.”
Tornado Tears only has to finish in the first four tomorrow night to book his place in next week’s final which if he advances will present a whole new test with a talented brigade looking to take the crown.
“No Group One is easy and looking at the fields all the good dogs are there, he caused a lot of buzz last year with the ease he went about it, but we had a lot of things in our favour and are facing a new wave of challengers this year,” Britton said.
“If we’re lucky enough to get through tomorrow night I’ll have my fingers crossed for a draw somewhere near the fence giving him that chance to recover if he does just miss it.
“I look at a bitch like Brooke Ennis’ Ella Enchanted as a real danger, she’s been fantastic since stepping up in tri they could build a very healthy rivalry in the months to come.”