David Vandyke has made an impressive start to his Queensland venture with Doomben Cup contender Maurus among his recent winners.
And if the gelding can win Saturday’s 2000m Group One race, his adopted state will claim bragging rights.
No Queensland-trained horse has won the Doomben Cup since Lord Seaman in 1983.
Vandyke will be based full-time at Caloundra from next month after moving the bulk of his horses from Warwick Farm in the past six weeks.
He has opted not to back Sir John Hawkwood up from his second in the JRA Cup a week ago and will rely on Maurus who starts from the outside gate in the 10-horse field.
“Maurus won his last start in good fashion and he is a fit stayer on the up. He will just need some luck from the barrier draw,” Vandyke said.
Vandyke scratched the handy Astronomos from the JRA Cup but he has accepted for a benchmark race on Saturday.
“I wasn’t happy with his blood count so I scratched him but he should be right this week,” he said.
Rival trainer Lee Freedman, now in partnership with his brother Anthony, will achieve a milestone if German import Our Ivanhowe can win the Doomben Cup.
Lee Freedman already shares the record for the most Doomben Cup wins with Tommy Smith and John Wheeler, having won with Abstraction (1989), Durbridge (1994) and Bush Padre (2003).
Anthony Freedman won the race with Mawingo in 2012.
Freedman’s first Group One win was with Miss Clipper in the 1986 Australasian Oaks and he scored his 125th when he joined with Anthony to produce BTC Cup winner Malaguerra last Saturday.
Our Ivanhowe was a two-time Group One winner in Germany but is yet to score in Australia with his best performance his third in last year’s Caulfield Cup.
He has been dogged by hoof problems but the Freedmans elected to send him to Queensland after he won a barrier trial at Cranbourne on May 9.
The brothers have changed Our Ivanhowe’s gear, taking the visor off and reverting to blinkers.