Kelso Wood would dearly love to break an interstate stranglehold on Queensland’s Group One races with Real Surreal in the Tatt’s Tiara.
Wood is set to put a disappointing 12 months behind him and emerge as Queensland’s most successful trainer over this year’s winter carnival.
By his usual standards, Wood had a year he would prefer to forget but in the past month he has been back in the winners’ circle in feature races.
Wood has saddled up nine runners in stakes races during the carnival for three winners, three minor placings, a fourth and a fifth.
He trained Real Surreal to win the 2013 Magic Millions Classic before the filly was transferred to the Hawkes training partnership in Sydney.
Real Surreal had five starts for the Hawkes stable without winning and when she returned home she got sick and needed extensive treatment.
“The owners ended up giving her four months in the paddock with other horses and then sent her to me to train again,” Wood said.
“I was very thankful to them because I have always thought she is something a bit special.
“We gave her a couple of jump-outs and took our time with her. I was confident she was getting back to her best.”
Real Surreal repaid Wood’s confidence at her second run back when she won the Gai Waterhouse Classic at Ipswich to earn a Tiara start.
The mare has drawn barrier 16 on Saturday but Wood believes it may not be a major disadvantage.
“She will get back anyway and be out of the usual early charge. She just needs some cover,” he said.
Wood’s other runners at the Gold Coast are Into The Red, Dansolei and She’s Miss Devine.
Wood said Into The Red had been unlucky at his most recent start when third in the Listed Hinkler Handicap at Doomben two weeks ago.
“He was three deep the whole way with no cover. This time he has drawn barrier four,” Wood said.
Dansolei is another horse who Wood believes has a heap of potential.
“She got left at the start last time and did a good job to finish where she did. The 1800 metres should suit,” he said.
Wood said She’s Miss Devine had been racing well since a farrier had solved her shoeing problems.