Trainer Gary Moore’s winter stocks have been bolstered with the win of two-year-old Risen at Gosford and could get a further boost when Group One performer Takedown returns to Brisbane.
Takedown will be having his second start since the Hong Kong International Sprint in December when he tackles the Group Two Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm, on Saturday.
The giant gelding ran sixth in the Hong Kong race and has come back well after a stint in quarantine.
At his first run back he finished eighth behind Redzel in the Group Three Hall Mark Stakes at Randwick on April 15.
But Moore expects him to be much fitter on Saturday when he meets a handy field of sprinters.
Takedown is the best-performed horse in the field having already won $1.5 million prize money.
“He worked well on Monday with Tim Clark in the saddle. He will head up to Queensland on Wednesday night and I expect him to race well,” Moore said.
Takedown, who won the Gold Coast Guineas last year, is being aimed at the Group One Doomben 10,000 (1200m) on May 13 and the Group One Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m) on May 27.
The leading trainer in Macau for many years, Moore has always had a soft spot for Queensland with his father, legendary jockey George Moore, originally from Mackay in the state’s north.
George Moore rode 21 Group One winners in Brisbane including a record five Doomben 10,000s, so a win by Takedown in the famous race would be something special for Gary Moore.
“I have had a better than 25 per cent strike rate in Queensland since coming back to Australia to train,” he said.
“Queensland has been great and to win a Group One there would be nice beside the Winterbottom Stakes (in Perth) last year and winning the French Arc de Triomphe as a jockey (Gold River in 1981).”
Risen, a colt by boom sire Snitzel, won trials at Hawkesbury and Rosehill before his debut at Gosford on Tuesday.
“At this stage Risen will go to the Gold Coast on Sunday night and run in the Ken Russell Classic there on Saturday week,” Moore said.
“I don’t think I will push on with him past that to the BRC Sires. He will probably go for a spell and come back a really nice horse.”
Moore has a possible Queensland Derby horse Kunming who was nominated for Saturday’s Group Three Gunsynd Classic, but is expected to run in a Maiden Plate (1600m) at Goulburn on Friday.
“He is looking for further in distance and will head north for the three-year-old staying races in Brisbane after Goulburn,” Moore said.