Firmly entrenched as one of Queensland’s best young trainers, Steve O’Dea hopes his promising filly Amber’s Crown can make an early impression in her spring comeback at Doomben.
Amber’s Crown, winner of the $150,000 QTIS600 Plate at Ipswich at her last appearance on May 2, makes her return in Saturday’s Mears & Jeffs Handicap (1020m).
The daughter of Excites has started only six times in her career but has an impressive record with four wins and a placing.
O’Dea settled in Brisbane just over three years ago after arriving as an unknown from Townsville in north Queensland.
A grey named Kiss Me Katy put O’Dea on the map when he ventured south with the filly who won three of her first four starts in Brisbane in 2009.
O’Dea’s “visit” turned into a permanent stay and he couldn’t be happier.
“It wasn’t my plan initially to stay here when I came down with Kiss Me Katy,” O’Dea said.
“But when she went so well I had a chat with her owner who had other horses with me and we decided to bring them all down and most of my other owners sent down their horses as well.”
O’Dea is looking for a strong showing from Amber’s Crown who has been in work for more than 10 weeks.
“This is a big race for her first-up and if she happens to win she could go to Melbourne,” O’Dea said.
“There’s a Listed race on Melbourne Cup day which looks enticing.”
O’Dea had the chance to send Amber’s Crown into the rich Brisbane winter carnival juvenile races but preferred not to rush her because of her size.
“She had five runs last preparation and did the job well,” he said.
“She could have gone on to the winter races but she’s only a light filly and I didn’t want to overtax her.
“Unfortunately the program isn’t very suitable and she has to kick off against older horses tomorrow but she’s on the minimum weight.”
O’Dea would have preferred a better barrier than 10 for Amber’s Crown but he’s confident she’ll be highly competitive.
“I would have liked a better gate but she’ll get back and will be hitting the line strongly,” he said.
Amber’s Crown was a $14,000 weanling purchase and already has accumulated $222,000 in prize money.