Queanbeyan trainer Joe Cleary loves visiting Queensland’s Gold Coast but even more so when he has a chance to come away with some big prize money.
Cleary will begin his northern summer campaign with Landlocked in the Listed Brisbane Handicap and Hudson County in the Volgren Optimus Handicap at Doomben on Saturday.
“Both horses got to the Gold Coast where they are stabled early in the week. It gave them a chance to settle in and me a chance to have a bit of beach time as well,” Cleary said.
Landlocked, who will be having his fourth run back from a spell, won at the Sunshine Coast and was unplaced in the Group Two Brisbane Cup during the winter.
The nine-year-old showed he was getting back near his best form when third in the Goulburn Cup behind Just A Blur on November 22.
“The Brisbane Handicap is a strong field but he had 61kg at Goulburn and he drops to 55 on Saturday,” Cleary said.
Hudson County won the Queanbeyan Cup and at Warwick Farm before finishing a stout second at Rosehill over 2400m two weeks ago.
In recent times Brisbane staying races have been dominated by the Chris Munce-trained Perplexity who will aiming for his fourth win in a row on Saturday.
Cleary said he was pleased Perplexity was drawn inside Hudson County as his horse should be able to get a cart across and sit outside Perplexity going out of the straight.
“We have the right bloke (Glen Boss) on top to do that. We will make it a true staying race,” he said.
Neither Landlocked nor Hudson County are Magic Millions eligible horses.
Landlocked, who is owned by Magic Millions boss Gerry Harvey, wasn’t offered at a sale and Hudson County is a Magic Millions sales graduate but wasn’t paid up for the series of races.
“Landlocked will have one more run in the Bernborough Handicap in a fortnight and Hudson County is in another open staying race on the same day. Then it is off home,” Cleary said.
Fellow NSW trainer Kurt Goldman has set Faust for a first-up tilt at the Brisbane Handicap.
The winner of the Premier’s Cup at Doomben in May, Faust hasn’t raced since finishing seventh in the Tattersall’s Cup at the Gold Coast on June 21.
The Goulburn-based Goldman tuned hum up with a barrier trial on November 16 in which he finished third to subsequent Rosehill winner Happy Clapper.