Eagle Farm trainer chooses Ballina Cup over Doomben
EAGLE Farm trainer Barry Lockwood has made his mark with a small team since moving from Tamworth to Brisbane last October and he is poised to add another winner to his tally with Playitstraight (Ashley Butler) in the $50,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup (1600m) today.
Playitstraight is also an acceptor for Doomben tomorrow but Lockwood is bringing the horse to Ballina believing the cup is a more suitable race.
The horse also has 2kg less in the cup with 57kg.
He goes into the cup on the back of a close-up fourth over 1400 metres at Eagle Farm on August 24 after being held up for a run over the last 100 metres.
That was his first run for nearly seven weeks after Lockwood was forced to ease him out of training.
"He turned in a shocker at his previous run and blood tests showed an elevated white cell count," Lockwood said.
"It wasn't good so I eased right back with him to let him get over it.
"He is fighting fit now and that run at Eagle Farm was a beauty.
"He was held up on the fence and had nowhere to go.
"I really think he should have won it."
Lockwood is no stranger to Ballina, having won the Bracelet some years ago while training at Port Macquarie.
Lockwood and Butler will also combine with I'll Takemanhattan in the Collins Hume / Alexander Wunsch Anniversary Benchmark 60 Handicap (1600m) before the trainer bids the mare goodbye.
"She is going back to Tamworth after this to another trainer and will be retired next season to go to stud," Lockwood said.
The hopes of a home-town cup win rest with three runners, the top weight Muhaajir (Tony Pattillo), trained by John Hubbard, the Danny Bowen-trained Horoscopes (Matthew Paget) and the Kevin Nipperess-trained St Edition (Neil Paine).
Nipperess gained a start with St Edition, which was the emergency, after Epic Terra was scratched to run in Brisbane tomorrow.
Muhaajir is the best performed of the three and the possible favourite but has top weight of 59kg and barrier 13.
- Race 1: ETERNAL HEART 1, Proof Red 2, Miss Pussigato 3, Tarting Me Up 4.
- Race 2: LA TIKKA ROSA 1, All But Grey 2, Havasnip 3, Hidden Rock 4.
- Race 3: ALLTHERIGHTMOVES 1, Cyclone Brad 2, Spiritist 3, Bundy Special 4.
- Race 4: MINI DELAGO 1, Power Receiver 2, Akihito 3, Originate 4.
- Race 5: COURT SUCCESS 1, Aussie Triumph 2, Grandin 3, Camayoc 4.
- Race 6: LASSILA 1, Just So Bruno 2, Bingo Bobby 3, Kristrom 4.
- Race 7: I'LL TAKEMANHATTAN 1, Show Day 2, Natural Nev 3, Big Ken The Celt 4.
- Race 8: PLAYITSTRAIGHT 1, Noisy Ocean 2, Muhaajir 3, Kinetics 4.
BEST BETS: Eternal Heart, Alltherightmoves, Court Success.