Trainer Kelso Wood will have to use all his renowned skills to get his underestimated sprinter Benny’s Buttons into the Group One Stradbroke Handicap.
Benny’s Buttons confirmed his rating as Brisbane’s best off season speedser when he lumped 59kg to beat a quality field in the Silk and Speedy Open Hcp (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
It was only Benny’s Buttons fifth win in a race but his prize money is now just under $440,000.
As a three-year-old Benny’s Buttons showed his potential when he won the Listed Vo Rogue Stakes and ran second in the 2011 Group Two Queensland Guineas behind Torio’s Quest.
However, after running third in the Sunshine Coast Guineas, Benny’s Buttons suffered serious leg problems and did not return to the racetrack for 679 days.
Wood was able to get him to win first-up on May 11 last year and Benny’s Buttons has been consistent since in open company races.
Wood believes Benny’s Buttons is up to the class of the Group One Stradbroke but he will get big weights in handicaps as he chases a berth in Queensland’s biggest race.
“He likes wet tracks and he is under-rated,” Wood said.
“The Stradbroke is a race for lightly-weighted horses and we often get rain in June.
“But just which direction we go to get him there I am still deciding.”
Wood has all but ruled out a start in the $150,000 Weetwood Handicap (1200m) at Toowoomba on April 12 in favour of either the Hinkler Hcp (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 19 or the Victory Stakes (1200m) a week later.
The Hinkler has a 61kg maximum top weight and the Victory Stakes is weight for age.
Meanwhile, trainer Bruce Brown was happy with the unlucky fifth of Black Magic behind Benny’s Buttons on Saturday.
The mare was making a strong run in the straight when checked by another runner and forced to alter course.
Brown is still keen to take her to Sydney for the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at Randwick on April 19.