Where to now for Go Wandji?
Trainer Tom Dougall has confirmed a long-term goal for his very smart four-year-old gelding who could not have been more impressive when claiming a dominant win at Eagle Farm on Wednesday.
Next year’s Queensland Winter Carnival is the target, but the route to that destination has yet to be decided.
“We were just crossing our fingers that everything went well on Wednesday,” said Dougall, referring to Go Wandji’s manners at the barriers which cost him a start in his last scheduled engagement.
“The performance on Wednesday was the secondary aim for us,” explained Dougall. “I know that sounds strange coming from a racehorse trainer, but we just wanted him to behave well … and he did that.
“I had just changed a few things and worked on the barrier part of things, but, yeah, he was fantastic all of the way through.
“Also, we are lucky to have Larry (Cassidy) on him. He has ridden Go Wandji in his last five starts. You know, certain jockeys suit certain horses … and Larry is the right man for that job, for sure.”
So what comes next?
“We’ve missed the back end of the Winter Carnival … and even the Rocky Carnival. We’ve sort of missed that with the hiccup we’ve had. He is not a Magic Millions horse, so we don’t have to be in a huge hurry for January.
“We are in a bit of a holding pattern for the moment. We’ve just got to make up our minds as to how we attack things.
“Next year’s Winter Carnival is our main goal … and twelve months comes around pretty quickly with a racehorse.
“I think, for now, we’ll continue this campaign on for as long as we can and take everything from there. If he continues to behave himself, something good will happen.
“My father owns Go Wandji and it is an advantage for us to be able to do things at our own pace.
“You’d probably be in a bit of trouble with him if you had a group of owners. They might want to get there pretty quick, so it is a big help just for us to have to deal with matters as they come up ourselves … particularly when things go wrong.”
And there are no plans to change the current owner/trainer status quo of Go Wandji, in spite of the fact that the Dougall’s can expect interest to pick up again from prospective purchasers with the horse already having been the subject of big money offers earlier in his career.
“Oh no, that’s all cut and dried now,” said Dougall.
“Dad just wants to race him and that is how it is.”
As another emerging, potential star galloper to come out of Toowoomba (Incentivise and Hinged went on to hit Group 1 glory in recent seasons), Go Wandji, in essence, is scoring one for the battlers.
You simply do not get a more down to earth, feet on the ground trainer than Tom Dougall and, if you are looking for fanfare, it will have to be Go Wandji’s feats doing the talking.
No future is certain for any racehorse but, with a solid base of seven wins and three places from only ten starts to build on, it would seem that, all things being equal, there should be more chapters to write in the Go Wandji story, which hopefully will build safely all the way to the 2023 Queensland Winter Carnival where we could have the opportunity to find out just how good Go Wandji really is!