By Glenn Davis
Promising sprinter Chikorita has been to the barriers trials more times than the races but the experience is set to pay off at Ipswich on Friday.
Chikorita will be chasing successive wins following his breakthrough victory at Beaudesert last month when he steps out in the QTIS Three-Year-Old Benchmark 65 Handicap (1200m).
The son of Hinchinbrook is well short of recouping his $200,000 purchase price at the Sydney Easter sales last year but that could eventually happen.
Trainer Darlene Duryea was given Chikorita to train with the specific instructions to qualify him for racing in Hong Kong.
“He’s owned by clients in Hong Kong and was originally bought to go straight there and he eventually will,” Duryea said.
“He’s got to get to a certain Benchmark to qualify for Hong Kong and that’s my job with him.
“He was nearly sold after he won a barrier trial but he didn’t fetch the price the owners wanted.”
Chikorita had four barrier trials before making his debut when second to the Tony Gollan-trained Hollaback Girl in a 1050-metre maiden at Doomben on September 19.
He subsequently franked the form winning his maiden over 1200 metres at Beaudesert on October 1 before Duryea gave him another barrier trial which he won at Deagon on October 2.
“He’s trialled quite a lot but that’s just to educate him,” Duryea said.
Duryea has made an important gear with Chikorita who wore winkers in his Beaudesert victory.
“He should race very well even though it’s always hard stepping up from a maiden win to a Class 1,” she said.
“Physically he’s 100 per cent but he’s still a little immature mentally, so I’ve taken the winkers off and blinkers are going on.
“The only thing that will let him down is his maturity. He’s doing everything on ability alone so far and I’m not sure the penny as dropped yet with him.”
Duryea, who has 15 horses in work at her Beaudesert property, grew up in the NSW country town of Delinquin where she worked with her father, trainer Doug Duryea.
Duryea’s racing experience also saw her travel overseas to work for the famous Ballydoyle Stud in Ireland.
“I got a scholarship from the Breeders Association to work overseas for 12 months and eventually I made it to Ballydoyle in Ireland,” she said.
“However, I only lasted about six months before the cold got to me so I came straight back home.”
Racing Queensland webnews November 1