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Image: Darren Winningham
Robert Heathcote is chasing his first Queensland G1 on Saturday at Eagle Farm

The coronavirus restrictions have provided a bonus for Queensland trainers and jockeys with many getting a chance to win their first Group One races.

Racing Queensland has severely lopped the winter carnival with only two Group One races and half the usual feature races.

It means the numbers and standard of interstate horses coming for the carnival has also been drastically reduced.

The top interstate jockeys are missing because they did not wish to self isolate for 14 days to be eligible to ride at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Of the 80 Group One races run in Brisbane in the past decade NSW trained horses have won 46, Victoria 18, New Zealand seven and West Australia one.

Queensland trained horses have only won eight through River Lad (2014 Stradbroke), Spirit of Boom (2014 Doomben 10,000), Winning Ways (2019 Oaks), Tinto (2014 Oaks), Eagle Way (2016 Derby), Miss Cover Girl (2016 Tatts Tiara), Sizzling (2012 JJ Atkins) and Capital Gain (2017 JJ Atkins).

Out of state dominance continues with jockeys given 90 per cent of the winning riders in the past decade coming from outside Queensland.

Only two local jockeys, Michael Cahill and Robbie Fradd, who rode in last year’s Stradbroke will feature in the race this year.

Dale Smith and possibly Taylor Marshall are the only two backing up from last year in the JJ Atkins.

Queensland trainers also have some of their best opportunities to win a Queensland Group One at Eagle Farm.

Robert Heathcote has won 10 Group One races but is yet to break his Queensland duck.

He has favourite Rothfire in the JJ Atkins and good chance Deep Image in the Stradbroke.

Stuart Kendrick has had a second, a third and a fourth in Group Ones and could go one better in the JJ Atkins with three chances in Superare, Way Beyond and Cosmic Gossip.

Toby Edmonds, who now trains in partnership with his son Trent, has won 30 stakes races and been runner up four times in Group Ones.

He has top chances to win his first Group One with Tyzone in the Stradbroke plus Wisdom of Water and The Drinks Cart in the JJ Atkins.

Toowoomba trainer Steve Tregea has a very good record in stakes races with 10 wins by his small team a small team and now Niccanova coould provide his his Group One in the Stradbroke.

Queensland-based jockeys Baylee Nothdurft, Luke Dittman, Tegan Harrison, Stephanie Thornton, Jim Orman, Justin Huxtable, Taylor Marshall, Brad Stewart and Michael Hellyer are also chasing their first Group One wins.

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