Queensland’s hopes of winning a Group-class three-year-old race during the winter carnival will be clearer after Shiraz Attack takes on promising males Rudy and Olympic Anthem on Saturday.
The trio are taking different paths to carnival Group races but will have their first acid test of their campaigns in the Goulburn Valley Plate (1350m) at Doomben.
Trainer Gillian Heinrich has had a string of top sprinters during her illustrious career including Military Rose, All Bar One, Dance The Stars, Audacious Spirit and Ghetto Blaster.
However, she believes Shiraz Attack is potentially the best stayer and possibly the best horse she has had.
“She is a lovely filly and had nothing but bad luck at her last couple of starts in the summer,” Heinrich said.
“Shiraz Attack has come back nicely and I am happy with her. We are looking at the Queensland Oaks and Saturday’s race is an ideal place to start.”
Heinrich said she had drawn up a plan for Shiraz Attack which would see her gradually step up distances.
“At this stage she will go the traditional route with the Gold Coast Bracelet and the Doomben Roses into the Oaks,” she said.
Jockey Tim Bell, who rode Shiraz Attack in her recent Gold Coast trials second, makes no secret of the fact he rates the filly as potentially one of the best horses he has ridden.
Shiraz Attack will be having her first start since finishing eighth after having no luck behind Sweet Idea in the Magic Millions Guineas on January 11.
Trainer Helen Page is confident Rudy, a brilliant first-up winner two weeks ago, will show he is more than a heavy-track specialist on Saturday.
The Queensland Derby-bound Rudy has won four races all on heavy tracks but Page believes he is equally at home on the dry.
Meanwhile, trainer Rob Heathcote will decide whether to nominate Olympic Anthem for the Stradbroke Handicap after Saturday’s race.
“At this stage we are aiming at the Queensland Guineas but I am keeping the Stradbroke up my sleeve as an option,” he said.