Friday, 29 June 2012
Brenton Avdulla is preparing to play to Roi D'Jeu's strengths in Saturday's Caloundra Cup and make the race a real test of stamina on a heavy track.
Avdulla will partner the hard-fit former New Zealand stayer in the Listed 2400m contest after riding the gelding when he was collared on the line by Adroitly in the Stayers Cup (3200m) at Rosehill last time out.
The jockey made the field chase him that day on a wet Rosehill track and is likely to adopt similar tactics as Roi D'Jeu drops back in distance in the Sunshine Coast feature.
"I will probably ride him similar to how I did the other day and if he runs on a par with what he did the other day, I'm sure he'll take some running down," Avdulla said.
"It's going to be hard for most of them to see the 2400 metres out on a bottomless track. I know my bloke did it over two miles (3200m) so I'll have to ride him accordingly and make it a real staying test."
The Sunshine Coast track was inspected again on Friday and declared suitable and safe for racing provided there was no more significant rain to add to the 134mm in the past week.
The track is rated a heavy (10) and Avdulla believes that gives him a real chance on Roi D'Jeu.
"If they run on a heavy ten I think I've got a nice ride," he said.
"I don't think the field is any harder than last start and I think if Adroitly was in it he'd probably be an odds-on favourite so I think I'm on one of the horses to beat."
Ipswich Cup winner Shenzhou Steeds is the favourite at $2.80 with TAB Sportsbet ahead of the Craig Ritchie-trained Roi D'Jeu at $4.20.
Anudjawun is next at $6 ahead of Warrior Within ($7.50) and last year's winner Spechenka at $8.
Avdulla will be riding at the Sunshine Coast for the first time and also partners Excellent Dane in the Listed Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m).
Last year's Sunshine Coast Guineas was taken out by Shenzhou Steeds with the Mike Moroney-trained four-year-old yet to be beaten in four starts in Queensland.
Shenzhou Steeds handled the 2150m of the Ipswich Cup last start but his trainer said the query with him in the Caloundra Cup was the combination of going to 2400m for the first time on a heavy track carrying topweight of 58kg.