By Jordan Gerrans
Multiple Group 1 winning trainer Rickie Alchin has become a regular in the Sunshine State over the years and in 2021 presents with a duo of impressive three-year-olds and potentially a champion trotter.
The Menangle Park-based trainer-driver has got a head start on much of the interstate contingent coming to Queensland for the TAB Queensland Constellations, starting horses last Saturday evening and across the last two Tuesday afternoons at Albion Park.
The renowned breaker of young horses has Redcliffe and Queensland Derby plans with youngsters Captain Crusader and Watts Up Sunshine, who both went around last Saturday at Albion Park.
They had to settle for minor placings behind Shannon Price’s Sporty Dancer on Saturday but that has not slowed Alchin’s hopes with the pair.
“Although they were beaten here on Saturday night, they both raced well,” Alchin said on Tuesday morning as the TAB Queensland Constellations carnival was launched at Albion Park.
“They are happy and have settled in well.
“Captain Crusader only arrived on Friday morning and then raced on Saturday night; he has come through the run really well.
“They should go to Redcliffe and be competitive.”
The Redcliffe Derby headlines racing at The Triangle on June 26 before the Group 1 Queensland Derby on Saturday July 24 at Albion Park.
Watts Up Sunshine finished third in the Group 1 NSW Derby earlier this year before a second-placed effort in the Breeders Crown series at Melton late in 2020.
Captain Crusader is also experienced against the best of the best, placing third two starts back at Melton.
“They are both proven at the top level, they have shown they can be competitive at that level,” Alchin said.
“Barrier draws is everything in races like this but they have the talent to be there.
“We will just be relying on a bit of luck.”
Albion Park Harness Racing club Executive Manager Scott Steele is over the moon with the calibre of pacers in Queensland for the carnival.
“It is unbelievable, this is an opportunity see the best harness racing in Australia by far,” Steele said.
“We have got the best of the best from New South Wales, Victoria, New Zealand and Western Australia.
“What a carnival it is going to be.
“We have got about 10 visiting trainers here at the moment and that will grow as the carnival goes on.
“The buzz is enormous.”