Rockhampton trainer David Stafford is hopeful of striking the jackpot with his first ever Brisbane runner at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Stafford has been training for almost 10 years and believes Writer can give him his first metropolitan win in the Sealy Australia Handicap (1200m).
Writer, a prolific central Queensland winner with 11 victories from 22 starts, arrived safely in Brisbane on Thursday following a lengthy road trip.
Stafford, 27, is a son of well-known central Queensland trainer Ron Stafford and a nephew of Maurice Stafford who trained successfully for many years in Brisbane and Rockhampton.
Stafford juggles training a stable of five horses with a Rockhampton produce business he runs in partnership with his sister Leanne Wigginton.
“I’m kept rather busy. I start work at 3.30am with the horses and don’t get home from work at the feed store until around 6.30pm most nights,” Stafford said.
“I’ve been working at the store since I was 17 and I’ve had my trainer’s licence since I was 18.
“This is the first time I’ve had a runner good enough to send to Brisbane and I’m pretty excited to be saddling him up.
“Dad took the horse down in the float and I’ll be arriving on Saturday with my girlfriend Jill.”
Stafford was concerned Writer’s float trip took longer than expected although it was broken up into two stages.
“They travelled straight down to Caboolture without any trouble and stayed overnight there but it took a few hours just to go from Caboolture to Brisbane,” he said.
“I’m not sure what the hold-up was for but he’s not normally a good traveller and I want to make sure he’s okay before he starts.”
Writer strung together three successive wins on his home track during the winter including a 7-1/2-length romp in the Tatt’s Gold Cup (1600m) on June 11.
The son of Hemingway, who was bred by owner Linda Wedmaier, then ran on strongly for third in the Rockhampton Cup (1600m) two weeks later.
Stafford hopes a good performance from Writer could see the six-year-old stay on in Brisbane.
“He’s been too classy for the horses in Rockhampton and he’s getting too much weight up here,” Stafford said.
“He’s got 59 kilos in Brisbane so what would he get next time in Rocky?
“If he races well I might have to transfer him to a Brisbane trainer so he can keep racing down there.”
Although Writer was beaten over 1600 metres at his last appearance, Stafford is confident of a strong showing over 1200 metres.
“He’s got a good record first-up winning three times and he’s won over 1200 metres,” he said.
“The only time he was beaten first-up was on the sand track when they were rebuilding our grass track.”