By Jordan Gerrans
Emerald trainer Trevor Williams was dreaming of a city starter with stable favourite Starhattan but he will happily take a Townsville Amateur Cup as a consolation prize.
The former jockey has been trying to qualify the consistent mare for the Country Cups Challenge Final in recent weeks.
The 67-year-old had Starhattan nominated for the CCC qualifier at Roma on Saturday as well as the Cup at Townsville’s Cluden Park on Sunday.
As the chestnut mare came up as the third emergency at Roma, Williams’ decision was made for him – he was on the way to North Queensland.
The veteran trainer believes that in reality the $35,000 Amateur Cup from Townsville is a much more winnable race than the Roma assignment for his five-year-old.
So, while he is disappointed to miss his last chance to book his spot in the CCC decider, he will be smiling on Sunday if Starhattan can claim the prize.
“From the perspective of the track and the race, I would prefer to go to Townsville as I think it suits her better,” he said.
“Being the grass track, that is where I would like to go.
“However, I was really keen to qualify to go to Brisbane. I would have liked to qualify before now but she just missed out at Home Hill last start.