David Vandyke is banking on the sheer talent of Gypsy Goddess to help her overcome a distance drop when she returns to her home state for an important winter carnival stepping stone.
After fine performances to finish third in the Vinery Stud Stakes (1850m) and runner-up in the ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) in Sydney, the filly is being readied for an assault on the Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm in June, via Saturday’s Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m).
“Our mission is obviously to try to win the Queensland Oaks,” Vandyke said.
“She has done everything but win a Group One, so that’s where we’re aiming towards.
“She’s done well since she has been back home and it will be nice to be playing on our home ground for the winter.”
Vandyke has taken the blinkers off Gypsy Goddess and says they will revert to riding her conservatively after going forward in the Australian Oaks.
While she will need luck from barrier 13 and the ability to readjust to the shorter journey, Vandyke, like punters who have backed the filly into even-money favouritism, expect her class to shine through.
“Quality can take a horse a long way and that’s what I am hoping will help her to win Saturday,” he said.
Vandyke warned stablemate Orbisyn, who is an early favourite for the Listed Australian Turf Club Trophy (1200m) at the Gold Coast, is not certain to take his place if the Gold Coast track deteriorates from its soft 6 rating on Thursday.
The unbeaten gelding has won his four starts by a combined total of more than 15 lengths but hasn’t raced since July and Vandyke isn’t keen to kick him off on a testing surface.
“I will make a call closer to race time on whether he runs or not, but I wouldn’t want to go around on a wet surface, especially being in race nine and it detrimentally affecting the rest of his preparation,” Vandyke said.
Desert Lord resumes in the same race and while Vandyke wants to see the best possible track for him, he says the horse needs to run to get his campaign under way.