Newcastle three-year-old Banner Season grabbed a place in next week’s Group One Queensland with his hard-fought win at Ipswich.
Banner Season was 22nd on the order of entry for the Queensland Derby on June 9 and needed to get the $30,500 first prize money to make the field.
The gelding only just got there, scoring by a short half-head to Surprise Bullet in a driving finish.
A Racing Queensland spokesman confirmed the win put Banner Season into the Derby field at this stage.
Banner Season, who is owned by the Gooree Park Stud, was originally trained by James Cummings but has been with Kris Lees for the past six months.
Lees’s stable representative Cameron Swan said Banner Season had continued to improve as he got out in distance.
“He won in good style at Newcastle at his previous start and Kris has him up here for the Derby so that is the plan at this stage,” Swan said.
The hours of study put in by trainer Matt Dunn’s bloodstock adviser Neil Jenkinson again paid dividends when The Fire Trap scored an impressive debut win.
Dunn paid $80,000 for The Fire Trap as a yearling on Jenkinson’s recommendation.
It looked a smart move when The Fire Trap ($2.70) beat Defence Missile ($4.60) by a length in a two-year-old maiden over 1100m.
“Neil really liked The Fire Trap as a baby and he is certainly a nice type. He was a bit timid early but we gelded him and gave him plenty of trials,” Dunn said.
“I think we might now have a promising horse.”
The Fire Trap is by first-season sire Sizzling and Dunn expects him to get better as the distances get longer.
Trainer Tony Gollan also looks to have a good horse in Tullio ($2.10) who won the other division of the two-year-old.