Trainer Michael Nolan won’t use Upstart Pride’s previous aversion to the Toowoomba track as an excuse if the in-form gelding is beaten in the Listed Weetwood Handicap on home ground.
Nolan has a strong hand at Toowoomba on Saturday, the only time the club hosts a metropolitan standard meeting each year, with Upstart Pride and Jumbo Prince (Weetwood), Dream Finnish (Toowoomba Cup) and Amelia Jane (Two-Year-Old).
Upstart Pride has won three of his past four starts including an all-the-way victory in the Listed Goldmarket (1200m) at the Gold Coast three weeks ago.
The Goldmarket win was Upstart Pride’s ninth overall but only one of those was on his home track in a Class One handicap in 2014.
“He had a good long spell before this campaign. At his first start back he had no luck from a wide barrier going around deep,” Nolan said.
“But since then he has been very good. His previous runs at Toowoomba have been scrappy. There is no doubt I would rather the race was at Eagle Farm or the Gold Coast where he goes very well.”
“But if he gets beaten on Saturday I won’t be using the track as an excuse.”
Upstart Pride will have to use his speed from the outside barrier.
Stablemate Jumbo Prince, the winner of 10 races, is best known as a 1600m-2400m horse but he has won three times first-up.
“He has pleased me since coming back into the stables. He is only a little bloke but he is all heart. And he does race very well at this track and distance,” Nolan said.
Wet weather has hampered Dream Finnish’s preparation for the Toowoomba Cup.
“I have only been able to give her two runs into the race because of the rain. But I think I have got her fit enough,” Nolan said.
Amelia Jane’s preparation has also been interrupted by rain as she was scratched from her planned debut at Doomben two weeks ago.
“She is a nice Real Saga two-year-old from the Magic Millions Sales and has gone well in the trials,” Nolen said.
“But whether she can beat a couple of the more seasoned youngsters such as Ruby Red Heart and Girl In A Million remains to be seen,” Nolan said.