By Glenn Davis
Popular Tolga trainer Sharlee D’Avila hopes to know if she’ll have her first Townsville Cup starter when stable mates Maquereau and Buxton clash in Cairns on Thursday.
The $150,00 Townsville Cup will be run over 2000 metres at Cluden Park on Saturday week.
D’Avila rates the former Ben Ahrens-trained Maquereau as the best horse in her stable of 20 and is confident the six-year-old will be very competitive in the Open Handicap over 1500 metres at Cairns' Cannon Park this week.
Maquereau will be ridden by stable hoop Lacey Morrison and is coming off a last start seventh-placed finish to 2020 Mackay Cup winner Best Hoffa over 1609 metres at Townsville on July 6.
“He needed the run last start and he got back a bit further than I expected and was caught a little wide,” D’Avila said.
“It was only his third run back from a spell and he’s probably the best horse I have in the stable.
“I’ll see how he goes on Thursday and if he runs well, I might throw in a nomination for the Townsville Cup.
“I’ve won a few Cup races like the Cooktown and Innisfail Cup's, but I’ve never had a runner in the Townsville Cup.
“Even if he doesn’t go to Townsville, I’m looking at the Cairns Cup with him in a few weeks.”
The $150,000 Cairns Cup will be run over 2100 metres at Cannon Park on August 28.
D’Avila isn’t overlooking the prospect of stable mate Buxton, who beat home Maquereau when a close fourth to Best Hoffa before a last start eighth to Live The Moment at Townsville on July 22.
“Buxton didn’t have the turn of foot I expected last run but he doesn’t go as well at Townsville and he’ll be better suited on his home track,” she said.