By Glenn Davis
Many have tried but few have succeeded.
That’s the reality of the dominance that local trainers hold in Toowoomba’s feature sprint, the Listed Weetwood Handicap.
Since 2000, local trainers have won the Weetwood Handicap every year bar four.
Chris Waller was the latest trainer from outside the Darling Downs to win the race with Sexy Eyes last year, ending a 10-year drought since Canberra’s Nick Olive was successful with Voice Commander in 2009.
Caloundra trainer Mick Mair won the 2007 Weetwood with star sprinter Swiss Ace while former Gold Coast trainer George Osborne was the only other successful trainer in the past 20 years to win with Devil in 2003.
This year only five Toowoomba-trained horses are in the field of 14 and all are hoping to re-gain the trophy and maintain the proud Weetwood history for local trainers.
Kevin Kemp shares the record of four Weetwood wins with the late Billy Nielsen and will stand aloft by himself if Mr Marbellouz is successful.
Mr Marbellouz - a Ben Thompson mount - has drawn barrier one and is coming off a last start fifth to the Kelly Schweida-trained The Odyssey over 1110 metres at Doomben on September 12.
It followed two Doomben placings behind the Tony Gollan-trained Just Orm, who was a last start second to The Odyssey two weeks ago.
Kemp will take great pride if Mr Marbellouz, an eight times winner in 21 starts, can give the stable a fifth win.
“It’s our local race and just to have a runner gives you a great feeling,” Kemp said.
“To win it for a fifth time and go past Billy Nielsen would be awesome.”
Kemp rates the Weetwood field as one of the strongest in years.
“This year’s race is one of the strongest I’ve seen in recent times and all 14 are good horses,” he said.
“Mr Marbellouz’s last run behind The Odyssey was very good but he felt the track a little that day.
“He’ll appreciate a softer track and he was only beaten two lengths, and Alligator Blood was only about one length in front of him.
“It’s a hot field but my horse has done really well this time in and he’s spot on for the race.”
Kemp will also be trying to claim his first Toowoomba Cup (2000m) with Fighting Teo.
Fighting Teo weakened to finish sixth to Humbolt Current over 2030 metres at Doomben on September 12.
“His last two runs have been down a fraction but he’ll run a lot better this time,” he said.
“I’ve never won the Toowoomba Cup but I have been placed in it.”