By Alex Nolan
Last year’s Queensland Origin hero Orchestrate is set to resume at Albion Park on Wednesday as trainer Tony Brett begins to unveil his big guns a week out from the 2022 TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival kick-off.
Orchestrate made headlines during the winter of 2021 when, after winning the Rockhampton Cup, he went on to be Queensland’s sole winner in the Origin Greyhound Series over 520 metres at Albion Park.
He returned from back-to-back pin injuries to record a string of wins during the Summer Carnival and was then set to contest the Group 1 Australian Cup at The Meadows.
However, Orchestrate was withdrawn on the morning of his heat after found to be slightly lame in the wrist.
He bounced back to win a graded event over 515 metres at Sandown and was last spotted publicly when second to Loxton Bale at The Meadows on March 12.
The son of Barcia Bale was on track for a shot at last months’ Group 1 Golden Easter Egg in Sydney before suffering a toe injury upon his return from the mixed Victorian campaign.
He will resume in a Best 8 race over 395 metres at Albion Park on Wednesday, which comes up as race nine on the card.
“It’s been a frustrating run since the beginning of the year with him,” Brett said.
“Hopefully time is on our side this time.
“He’s jumping out of his skin and is ready to race.”
Orchestrate will be the first of numerous winter carnival hopefuls lining up for the Brett team this week, including this year’s beaten Rocky Cup favourite Milligan.
Despite being backed into warm $1.65 favouritism, the son of Keybow and Velocity Charm missed the start but ran on well to finish fourth.
Milligan now tackles a heat of the Group 3 Brisbane Young Guns over 520 metres – race three on Thursday – and will start from box four.
“He’s drawn nicely, I don’t mind the middle of the track with box five vacant,” Brett said.
“I just want him to jump okay.”
A quick comparison of Milligan’s form guide compared to that of Orchestrate at the same time in their careers makes for very similar viewing.
“The only thing was Milligan didn’t win the Rocky Cup, but other than that they followed the same path,” Brett said.
“The timing is right for him. He went 29.80 seconds at Albion Park as a pup and I think he can go quicker than that. He’s just got to be able to do it in a race.”