Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
  1. Home
  2. News
  3. September 2021
  4. Raiders searching for breakthrough Weetwood Handicap

Raiders searching for breakthrough Weetwood Handicap

D4C-8170.jpgBy Glenn Davis

Rival trainers David Vandyke and Desleigh Forster hope to smash fortress Clifford Park when their classy sprinters Desert Lord and Apache Chase clash in the Weetwood Handicap at Toowoomba on Saturday.

Desert Lord and Apache Chase are attempting to break the dominance of Toowoomba trainers, who have won the Listed feature every year except for four since 2000.

Champion Sydney Chris Waller was the latest trainer from outside the Darling Downs to win the race with Sexy Eyes in 2019, which ended a 10-year drought since Canberra’s Nick Olive was successful with Voice Commander in 2009.

Caloundra trainer Mick Mair won the 2007 Weetwood with former star sprinter Swiss Ace while former Gold Coast trainer George Osborne was the only other successful trainer since 2000 to win with Devil in 2003.

Desert Lord, a Michael Cahill mount, is a winner of two of his three starts this campaign and is coming off a last start win in the Listed Goldmarket Handicap at the Gold Coast in August.

Desert Lord
Apache Chase

wz-GOe9A.jpegTop jockey Jim Byrne will partner Apache Chase, who is having his first start since a gallant effort in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm in June.

Experienced hoop Cahill has won the Weetwood once aboard October Grey back in 2006 while Byrne is chasing his third Weetwood after claiming the famous Darling Downs sprint on Seawinne in 1995 and Ceffyl in 2003.

Vandyke was disappointed when Desert Lad drew wide in barrier 14 but remains confident of claiming the Weetwood at his first attempt.

‘We can’t do much about the barrier so it will be up to Michael Cahill to get across and get a good run,” Vandyke said.

“I’ve had a bit of luck with Michael in the past and with any luck we can win.

“His last win in the Goldmarket was very good and since then he had a nice barrier trial.”

Apache Chase is likely to start favourite in the Weetwood Handicap after the four-year-old showed he was well above average during the TAB Queensland Winter Carnival.

He won the Listed Daybreak Lover and Group 3 Fred Best Classic at Eagle Farm as well as finishing second in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas won by Private Eye.