Group-winning mare Etana has arrived in Queensland from Sydney to begin her winter carnival campaign at the Sunshine Coast.
Etana opens her winter mission in Saturday’s Open Handicap (1400m) and meets a strong field of local horses.
The mare, who is trained by the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace partnership, has been to Queensland twice before with mixed success.
As a three-year-old she won the Group Two Doomben Roses before pulling up sore when well beaten in the Group One Queensland Oaks during the winter.
Etana was back in Queensland in January and won the Magic Millions Quality on January 11.
She has had one run since then for an eighth in the Parramatta Cup at Rosehill on February 22.
Annabel Neasham, who runs the Maher/Eustace partnership’s Sydney stable, said Etana had been in Queensland for several days to fit in with interstate travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
“She appears to have travelled well and she has won twice at 1400 metres. Etana will probably have three runs in Queensland,” Neasham said.
“After Saturday she will go to the Wayne Wilson Mile (May 15) and then probably the Chairman’s Handicap (May 30).
“They seem to be the right type of races for her.”
Mark Du Plessis will ride Etana who has drawn barrier four.
The Maher/Eustace team has also accepted with Quality Seeker in the Light Horse Brigade Handicap (2200m) at the Gold Coast on Friday.
Quality Seeker won two races impressively in Brisbane before a last-start fifth at Doomben when he had excuses.
“Nothing went right for him at Doomben. He had to be resaddled at the barriers and then had to be replated on both front feet,” Neasham said.
“Then he pulled up lame. He had really run his race before the start.”
Apprentice Alex Patis will claim 3kg on Quality Seeker meaning he will carry 54kg, 6.5 kg less than he had at Doomben.
“There wasn’t much else around for him but this should suit,” Neasham said.
The Maher/Eustace stable has already won four feature races in Queensland this season headed by Away Game’s win in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic in January.