By Glenn Davis
Talented sprinter Mr Phenomenal could become the latest country star to test his credentials in Brisbane if the gelding makes a winning comeback at Rockhampton on Wednesday.
Rockhampton flyer Master Jamie showed he could mix it with the big Brisbane guns when he scored a breakthrough city win at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
The Graeme Green-trained Master Jamie is rated one of Rockhampton’s top three-year-olds and earned a shot at the $300,000 QTIS Jewel at the Gold Coast in March with a brilliant all-the-way win against his own age.
Mr Phenomenal returns after a three-month break in the Open Handicap (1050m) at Callaghan Park and trainer Darryl Gardiner is keen to try him in Brisbane this campaign.
Mr Phenomenal will be ridden by regular jockey, apprentice Elyce Smith, when the five-year-old attempts to stretch his winning sequenced to six.
The former Victorian has won nine of his 12 starts since Gardiner bought him as a tried horse for only $6,500.
Mr Phenomenal, who is owned by Gardiner’s wife Joanne, was originally to be trained by Thangool’s Damien Rideout.
“I got him for $6,500 from Chris Calthorpe in Victoria,” Gardiner said.
“He was originally going to be sold to Damien Rideout at Thangool but Damien rang me and asked if I was interested in buying him as he had too many horses.”
Gardiner has a team of nine horses in work in Bundaberg and is a regular traveller on the country circuit in Queensland.
Mr Phenomenal has been a bargain for Gardiner after he took his prizemoney tally to almost $95,000 with his last start win at Rockhampton on October 3.
“He races well fresh and has won first-up so I’m hopeful he’ll run really well again,” Gardiner said.
“He’s very nippy but I’m not sure if he’ll be fast enough over 1050 metres in this race as there’s a couple there that go really well.
“He’s got 58.5kgs but that won’t worry him.”
Gardiner decided to spell Mr Phenomenal after his last run to avoid the hotter months in central Queensland.
“He had been up a long time before he won last start but there’s not much grass where he’s been spelling so I thought he might as well come back into work,” he said.
“If he continues to race well up this way, I’m thinking of sending him to Brisbane soon.
“After that he’ll get ready for the winter carnival in Rocky and a race like the Newmarket Handicap.
“I won the Rockhampton Cup a few years ago with Victory Hotel but I’ve never had a Newmarket runner.”
Racing Queensland webnews January 20