Former Kiwi Roger Milne believes he’s been around long enough to be labelled a Queenslander and will carry the state’s diehard traditions into the Doncaster Mile at Randwick with Captain Sonador.
The 60-year-old Toowoomba trainer moved to Queensland from New Zealand 15 years ago and shares a love of both rugby codes.
“I’ve been here long enough to be called a Queenslander and I follow them in rugby league,” Milne said.
“But when it comes to union I follow the All Blacks.”
Milne is refusing to raise the white flag with Captain Sonador in the Group One Doncaster Mile on Saturday despite the recent dominance of glamour mare More Joyous.
More Joyous recorded her fourth win from 18 starts and took her prizemoney past $2.2 million with a brilliant victory in the Group One Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Rosehill last start.
“On paper, it looks like we’re running for second prizemoney against More Joyous,” Milne said.
“We won’t give in and it’s not over until the fat lady sings.
“It does looks like the owners of More Joyous have their hands around the Doncaster trophy but you just never know in racing.”
Milne is hoping Captain Sonador can cause a similar upset as he did when he claimed the Group One Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick last October.
The four-year-old son of Shamardal went down less than three lengths when eighth in the George Ryder in his first Sydney start since his famous Epsom victory.
Milne saw plenty of merit in Captain Sonador’s George Ryder performance.
“It was a good run. He went to the line strongly and has taken a heap of improvement from the run,” Milne said.
“He was left flat-footed a couple of times but he found the line well.”
Black Caviar’s rider Luke Nolen will replace Shane Scriven on Captain Sonador in the Doncaster Mile.
“I offered the ride Damian Oliver but he couldn’t make the weight and Luke Nolen will ride him,” Milne said.
“The weights will be raised half a kilogram if Rangirangdoo doesn’t run but my bloke will still only have 53.5 kilos.
“A lot of trainers are in the same boat trying to find jockeys who can ride light.”
Captain Sonador will return home to Queensland following the Doncaster Mile and will be retired to stand at Raheen stud at Warwick following the Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm in June.