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Vandyke hopes for bright start to new season

DSE-8944.jpgBy Glenn Davis

Trainer David Vandyke was pleased with his premiership finish last season and is hopeful more success will come his way when the new metropolitan season gets under way at Eagle Farm on Wednesday.

Vandyke has four runners entered on the day with McCovey Cove in the Class 3 Plate, You’re Next in the male’s division of the Benchmark 62 Handicap while he’ll be double handed with Night Express and Blackboots in the fillies division.

The top trainer has come a long way since he made an immediate impact on Queensland racing, winning with his first runner with Look To The Stars in the Listed Princess Stakes at the Sunshine Coast back in 2016.

Vandyke now has 38 horses in work at Caloundra and finished the 2020-21 season in fifth place in the metropolitan trainers premiership with 37 wins behind runaway winner Tony Gollan, who claimed his eighth title with 103 city wins.

“It was the best season I’ve had since I moved here five years ago,” Vandyke said.

“The plan is to have another similar season but to finish in the top five was great.

“I’m just happy to finish in the top 10 but I’m always striving for better.”

Vandyke believes his Doomben team will be competitive and is hopeful of a winner or two this Wednesday. 

McCovey Cove – a Stephanie Thornton (pictured) mount – has been ultra-consistent with three wins and four placings from eight starts and is coming off a last start win in Class 4 grade at Eagle Farm on July 21.

“He’s been consistent and he’ll run well again over the same distance and track as last time,” Vandyke said.

“He should make it to Saturday grade.”

McCovey Cove is raced by the Harris Family - part owners of star filly Duais - who finished second in the Group 1 Australian Oaks at Randwick before claiming the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm in June.

Duais is a half-sister to Vandyke’s eight-time winner Baccarat Bay, who also was raced by the Harris family.

Vandyke expects former Sydneysider You’re Next to take significant improvement after making his stable debut with a close fifth to Abdicating at the Sunshine Coast on July 13.

He also finds it hard to split Night Express and Blackboots, who are both having second runs back from a break.

Night Express resumed with a sound fourth to Belle’s Pluck over 1000 metres on her home track on July 11 while Blackboots was a close third first-up behind Sister Kathleen over 1350 metres at Ipswich on July 15.

“Night Express and Blackboots are both in good shape after their first-up runs and I’m expecting both will run well again,” Vandyke said.

Blackboots Next Racing