Group One placegetter Jumbo Prince will make his open company debut at Doomben on Saturday with trainer Michael Nolan keeping a lid on his first-up expectations.
Jumbo Prince has drawn the rails in the Suez Recycling & Recovery Hcp (1200m) in which he takes on a handy field including Prime Minister’s Cup winner Neo and Volkhere, who was second to Cox Plate runner Pornichet in the Toowoomba Cup.
Bought for just $8000, Jumbo Prince has won eight of his 22 starts and more than $460,000 prize money.
He confirmed his promise during the Brisbane winter carnival when he won the Toowoomba Guineas and finished third in the Rough Habit Plate and Queensland Derby.
His only unplaced winter run was a controversial sixth in the Grand Prix Stakes which resulted in his jockey Luke Tarrant being suspended for causing interference when he took Jumbo Prince to an unfamiliar role on the pace.
Nolan says while he has a big opinion of Jumbo Prince, who is one of the smallest horses racing in Queensland, he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.
“Often horses can be very good for a couple of seasons and then not come up,” Nolan said.
“This horse is so honest and we have had a great time with him. To be such a cheap buy and run a place in a Group One race was a tremendous thrill.
“But I have learned over the years you never get carried away.”
He said provided Jumbo Prince held his form he would be set for feature races over a mile with the Bernborough Handicap at Doomben in late December among the likely targets.
“He is a Magic Millions horse and the Magic Millions Cup will be his ultimate goal. He has won in good company over the 1800 metres at the Gold Coast,” Nolan said.
Jumbo Prince has a good fresh record with two wins and a second from four first-up starts.
He also has a handy strikerate over the Doomben 1200m circuit with two wins and a second from three attempts.
Tim Bell rode Jumbo Prince at his last start in the Queensland Derby but he has taken up a contract in Singapore and in-form jockey Michael Cahill will take over on Saturday.