Johnstone’s preparation for previous feature races had been cut short by timing or niggles, but he seemingly has everything under control for his Bundy tilt.
“One of the biggest positives for him at the moment is he seems to have his water diabetes under control, it was something that was really affecting his recovery after races,” he said.
“I wasn’t able to give him any work during the week, it was all about getting his weight right and have him feeling good in time for his next run, now I get the opportunity to work him between runs and he’s enjoying it.
“He lost a fair bit of weight on the flight up and back from Townsville; Bundaberg is a much more manageable trip, he sat in the air conditioning in the back of the car the whole way, did his post-to-post and has pulled up a treat.”
Federal Morgan has posted wins at Albion Park, Ipswich and Townsville since touching down in Queensland and Johnstone doesn’t see any reason he can’t add Bundaberg to the list.
“I’m not too worried about him running out the 550 metres, he’s the fittest I’ve ever had him and as we saw at The Ipswich Young Guns he’s a hard dog to get past once he finds the top,” Johnstone said.
“The only one to go past him was All Hands Off who won her regional Million Dollar Chase final earlier this week.
“Speaking to the local trainers I think that first corner is probably the trickiest, you can lose stride around there pretty easily, but he looked great in his post-to-post and got around nice and clean and I’d like to think he’ll be one of the first to the turn as well.
“I’ve learnt from watching the good trainers you need them peaking for the final and with a 500 post-to-post, and a heat run he should be topped up for the final - if he doesn’t make it through the heats he doesn’t deserve to be there.”
Despite there only being two heats, Johnstone isn’t taking anything for granted with a combination of hardened Brisbane dogs and locals setting the pace of late.
“We’re certainly not going up there for an easy kill, we saw Waddling Witch come out and run a track record in the prelude on Monday and Ricky Hassall’s dog Prince Cosmic got to within about a length of her late,” Johnstone said.
“We learnt up in Townsville not to underestimate the locals with half the field getting through to the final, it’s another track and another test for him but I wouldn’t be taking him up if I thought he couldn’t win.
“That’s what it’s all about for him now; fourth in a Brisbane Cup was a big surprise, second in Townsville was a letdown, the wins in between are good but for the owners it’s all about these feature races.”