By Glenn Davis
Veteran trainer Barry Baldwin is banking on a massive class drop for a return to form from The Candyman at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
The Candyman will tackle the $105,000 Mooloolaba Cup (1600m) in his first run back in Queensland after a failed Sydney spring campaign.
The Candyman developed a cult-like following and revived memories of the great Gunsynd during the Brisbane winter carnival because of his grey colour and a seven-win winning streak.
The six-year-old’s best winter win was in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup before he embarked on a Sydney campaign which included the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick in October.
The Candyman had his first interstate run and failed in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap at Newcastle before sitting four deep when 13th in the Epsom Handicap won by the Chris Waller-trained Kolding.
At his subsequent two starts, The Candyman finished seventh in both the Group 3 Craven Plate at Randwick in October and Rosehill Cup in November.
“His Newcastle run was very bad for some reason but his Epsom run was enormous and no-one can knock it,” Baldwin said.
“He sat four wide the entire trip and covered more ground than any other horse.
“His run in the Rosehill Cup also was very good and his rider Andrew Adkins thought he would have placed with a better barrier.”
Baldwin has booked his former apprentice Matt McGillivray to partner The Candyman in his return.
“Matty has never ridden him before but he might have ridden him in trackwork as a younger horse,” he said.
“It’s a big drop in class for him at Caloundra and I think he’ll run very well.”
Like most people, Baldwin would like rain but is not holding his breath despite recalling an old bushie’s tale that rain often follows fires.
Baldwin plans to continue through the summer carnival with The Candyman, who has won seven of his 17 starts.
“He went to Sydney as a 99 rater and has come back dropping seven points which is a positive for us,” he said.
“There’s a few quality races coming up for him here and possibly the Magic Millions if he can win a wildcard race.
“He was bought at the Magic Millions but he wasn’t paid up.”
The Candyman’s career was delayed after he broke his jaw in several places following a stable accident before he raced.
He had two operations on the jaw including one to fix his smashed teeth and still races with seven plates and 42 screws in his jaw.
Racing Queensland webnews November 13