Patinack Farm trainer John Thompson hopes Jim Cassidy’s early start to the Brisbane winter carnival will be rewarded in the Group Three Gunsynd Classic at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Cassidy has retained the ride on Levi’s Choice, one of four Thompson-trained runners engaged in the 1600-metre feature.
Cassidy and Melbourne’s Darren Gauci, who will partner the Michael Nolan-trained Ghostnthedarkness, will be the only interstate riders at the meeting.
Cassidy protested unsuccessfully on Levi’s Choice against winner Lucha Libre when runner-up in the Listed South Pacific (1400m) at Randwick on April 16.
“The winner ran out and ran us off the track but they never touched until the line so the stewards said they couldn’t uphold the protest,” Thompson said.
“I thought we should have won.”
The Sydney trainer will base himself in Queensland at the stable’s Wadham Park headquarters in the Gold Coast hinterland for the next two months.
Thompson declared his hand for the Queensland Derby by naming Levi’s Choice as the stable’s best three-year-old stayer.
“Levi’s Choice is our best stayer and he and the others are all on the Queensland Derby path,” Thompson said.
Thompson rated Levi’s Choice, who campaigned in Brisbane last winter, good enough for the Group One Victoria Derby at Flemington last November.
“Unfortunately he went amiss before the Derby and had to have six months off,” he said.
Levi’s Choice wrenched a joint in his eye-catching third to Lion Tamer in the Listed Ming Dynasty (1400m) at Randwick last September.
Thompson will take the traditional route to the Queensland Derby with his four Gunsynd Classic runners which also include Hour Of Peril, From London and second emergency Threatened Danger.
Levi’s Choice, who finished third to Pressday in last year’s Group Two Sires’ Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm, has been placed at his only two starts on a heavy track.
“The wet won’t worry Levi’s Choice. He loves it and he’s a definite stayer,” Thompson said.
Thompson will closely monitor the performance of Hour Of Peril following the three-year-old’s eighth to Steel Zip in the Listed Queensland Day Plate (1350m) at Doomben on April 16.
The son of Fusaichi Pegasus won three straight in Brisbane last campaign before Thompson headed west for the Group Two Western Australian Guineas (1600m) at Ascot in November.
However Hour Of Peril failed to reproduce his dazzling Queensland form, finishing 10th to Playing God in the Perth feature.
He subsequently finished fifth to Playing God in the Listed Aquanita Stakes (1800m) at Ascot two weeks later.
“He was first-up from a break last start and probably needed the run,” Thompson said.
“He went okay over in Perth and he should run a lot better this time.”