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Duncan to make late call on Wapiti start

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Jack Duncan will make a late call whether to start Toowoomba Cup winner Wapiti in the Padua College Open Handicap at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Duncan will be looking to the heavens for some rain to boost Wapiti’s hopes as the four-year-old chases back-to-back wins following his Toowoomba Cup victory.

“He’ll probably start but I’m not 100 per cent confident how he’ll handle Eagle Farm,” Duncan said.

“If he does start, I think he’ll be very hard to beat.”

Wapiti notched up his fourth career win in the 2000-metre Toowoomba Cup last month when he stormed home to down the John Smerdon-trained Honourable Spirit and Champagne Aunty.

Honourable Spirit franked the Toowoomba Cup form by winning the Listed Queensland Cup over 2400 metres at Eagle Farm on October 9 before finishing third at his latest appearance in a Benchmark race at Doomben last week.

“His Toowoomba Cup win was very strong and he’s done well since,” Duncan said.

“I was always confident he would win the Toowoomba Cup.

“He’s only had the four wins but he’s an Open company horse now because of his win in the Group 3 Winx Stakes last year.

“I’ve always had a lot of time for him since we bought him at the Magic Millions sales and he’s always raced against top horses.”

Wapiti

Wapiti was bred by Caloundra’s Caroline Hickey but was passed in when he went through the Magic Millions January sales in 2018 before being bought privately by Duncan.

Duncan plans to start Wapiti in the Mooloolaba Cup over 1600 metres at the Sunshine Coast on November 20 before his ultimate goal in the Magic Millions Subzero over 2400 metres at the Gold Coast in January.

“I’ve never won the Mooloolaba Cup but his stablemate Magnufighter was a tragedy beaten in it last year,” he said.

“All going well he’ll be heading to the 2400-metre race on Magic Millions day.”

Wapiti’s win in the Winx Guineas gave Duncan his biggest win of his 40-year training career.

Jockey Taylor Marshall has ridden Wapiti has his past three starts and has retained the ride on the five-year-old.

“Taylor has been his regular rider and I think he’s a very under-rated jockey,” Duncan said.

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