Home » Stable chasing a Qld Derby High after near-miss in Sydney

Stable chasing a Qld Derby High after near-miss in Sydney

Image: Steve Hart

A top sprinter with a point to prove and an emerging young stablemate will fly the Group 1 flag for their Sydney trainer at Eagle Farm.

Having had to settle for a narrow second in the Australian Derby with Ceolwulf , Joe Pride will rely on the improving Bullets High in his bid to go one better in the Queensland equivalent.

Ceolwulf, who was the trainer’s first Derby runner, was beaten a neck by Riff Rocket in the Sydney classic and in Bullets High, Pride is confident he has a three-year-old with the stamina to handle Saturday’s 2400-metre Eagle Farm test.

The gelding scored a gutsy victory over older horses at Warwick Farm last week to book his spot on the float north, alongside star stablemate Think About It who will chase back-to-back wins in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) a race earlier.

Pride says Bullets High has continued to please him and he has also taken heart from the observations of David Payne, who trained the sire of Bullets High, 2017 Victoria Derby winner Ace High.

“David Payne, who knows Ace High better than anyone, he saw him (Bullets High) in the yard at the start of the preparation and he said he’s the spitting image of his sire, so I hope he’s half as good,” Pride said.

“He’s on his way this horse, it’s just a matter of when it is all going to come together for him.

“He has bounced out of last week well and he’s still learning, but I couldn’t see him not running well because he can stay.”

While Pride has no doubts over Bullets High’s stamina, he is wary of Brisbane’s weather forecast for rain on race day.

Bullets High scored on a soft 6 track at Warwick Farm but missed a place at his two runs on wetter ground, while he would also prefer a drier surface for Think About It.

“The rain concerns me a little bit for Saturday. I think it’s probably concerning everyone because of the way that Eagle Farm track has played,” Pride said.

“The only genuinely heavy track Think About It has been on was in the Doncaster and he didn’t have any luck that day from a bad draw, so I wouldn’t make too many assumptions about that.

“I’d rather be on the dry because it’s a variable I don’t want to deal with being an unknown.”

Track conditions aside, Pride is expecting Think About It to serve a reminder of his talents in the Kingsford Smith after an autumn campaign that didn’t go to plan.

“He’s a good horse and he just needs to get in races that are going to suit him,” Pride said.

“Whether that’s Saturday, I’m not sure because of that forecast, but he’s in great shape.

“If he handles conditions on the day he will be in the finish.”

Think About It hasn’t raced since he was beaten just over three lengths by Celestial Legend in the Doncaster Mile (1600m) on April 6, but his fitness has been kept up to the mark with two subsequent barrier trials and the Everest winner has a terrific fresh record.

The Bureau Of Meteorology is predicting between five and 20mm of rain in Brisbane on Saturday, mainly in the afternoon and evening.


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