Trainer Tony Gollan hopes his Toowoomba bulldog Listen Son can decide his own Brisbane winter carnival fate in the Listed Hinkler Quality Handicap at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Gollan’s main focus will be in Sydney where he’s hoping to saddle his first Group One winner with Temple Of Boom in the Galaxy (1100m) at Randwick but he’ll be closely watching how Listen Son performs in his comeback over 1200m in Brisbane.
Listen Son has not started since finishing fourth to stablemate Spirit Of Boom in the Listed Goldmarket Handicap (1300m) at the Gold Coast in January.
However, Gollan is confident of a good first-up showing from the five-year-old who had only a short break in the paddock following the Goldmarket.
“My biggest concern is the weather. He’s got a bad alley (12) but that’s not unusual for him,” Gollan said.
“I’m more worried about the track. I went to Eagle Farm yesterday expecting a dead track and we ended up on a slow seven.
“His run in the Goldmarket was very good. He went very fast up front and carried 58 kilos and was beaten just over two lengths.
“I’ll be closely watching how he goes when I’m in Sydney as I’d like to make a decision as early as possible whether to set him for the Stradbroke.”
The Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) will be run at Eagle Farm in June.
Listen Son finished a creditable sixth, beaten less than four lengths, in last year’s Stradbroke won by Sincero.
“If he goes well he’ll probably head down a similar path as last year to the Stradbroke,” Gollan said.
“I was happy enough with his run in last year’s Stradbroke but he was probably over the top by then.
“He also was backing up in the Stradbroke, a week after having a tough run when fourth in the QTC Cup.”
Gollan has given Listen Son plenty of grounding ahead of his return with a barrier trial at Eagle Farm and almost three months of work.
Gollan’s main Stradbroke hope this year is Spirit Of Boom while he hasn’t ruled out Temple Of Boom heading home for the $1 million feature if Brisbane has a wet winter.
Listen Son has been successful only once in six starts first-up but Gollan is not a great follower of statistics.
Grant Cooksley will partner Listen Son and will be attempting to maintain his perfect record for Gollan.
Cooksley won the Listed Bright Shadow Handicap on Cariad at Eagle Farm on April 7 at his only ride for the stable.