By Jordan Gerrans
Back where he thrives, veteran trainer Barry Baldwin expects cult hero The Candy Man to relish the Queensland conditions as he builds towards the winter carnival.
The stylish grey is nominated for a return from a spell this Saturday on the Gold Coast in the Listed Australian Turf Club Trophy (1400m), handed 60.5kgs in his return.
The son of Casino Prince has been in the paddock since late last year, finishing his campaign at Rosehill, running over 17 lengths behind the winner in the Rosehill Cup.
Baldwin, who is in his late 70s these days, admits his stable star was stiff and sorry for himself by the end of his most recent campaign.
The popular grey has won all 11 of his career victories on Queensland soil while going eight starts without a minor placing south of the border.
The Candy Man’s rehabilitation and toughness to get back to the racetrack have been well documented over the years and his trainer believes that is why he races so well at home.
“I think he just loves Queensland and he loves his own little place here where he was nurtured back after he almost died,” he said.
“He just loves being here, the attention and being here.”
One of The Candy Man’s owners has floated the idea of a return to Sydney later this year, but Baldwin thinks a crack at the new Sky Racing Q22 may be his best option.
“We have been twice bitten, we have gone down there to NSW twice and come back with our tail between our legs both times,” he said.
“He won very well before he went down last time before running fourth and losing form.
“And, the time before that, he had zero form down there and then came back and won three out of the next four.
“He had a bad preparation down there last time.”