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The riding star of the 2015 Queensland winter, Blake Shinn will kick-start this year’s carnival aboard New Zealander Volkstok’n’barrell in the Hollindale Stakes.

Shinn’s nine-race carnival haul last year included the Group One BTC Cup on Hot Snitzel and Group One Doomben Cup on Pornichet.

He rode Volkstok’n’barrell in an unplaced run in the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield last August at the start of what was a winless campaign for the Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs-trained four-year-old.

The winner of the 2015 Rosehill Guineas, Volkstok’n’barrell has had a mixed summer and autumn, winning two Group One races in New Zealand before he was unplaced in the Doncaster Mile won by Winx.

The Group Two Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday will be his first start since the Doncaster on April 2.

“Corey Brown who rode him in the Doncaster said he knew we were in trouble after we went about 200 metres. He just wasn’t handling the track at all,” Logan said.

“He can handle soft tracks but he doesn’t like shifty tracks. That track on Doncaster day was no help to us.”

She said a much better guide to Volkstok’n’barrell’s chances on Saturday were his two previous starts for wins in the Group One Haunui Classic at Otaki and the Group One New Zealand Stakes at Ellerslie.

“He was right back to his best form in those races and won both of them impressively,” Logan said.

She said Volkstok’n’barrell arrived in Brisbane on Sunday and had settled in well.

“He is used to travel these days and I am expecting a good run on Saturday. Blake’s style will suit him,” she said.

Volkstok’n’barrell’s main objective in Queensland is the Group One Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 21.

Australia’s two biggest stables each have three Hollindale runners with Chris Waller to start Strawberry Boy, Kool Company and Spiritjim while Godolphin trainer John O’Shea will have Hauraki, It’s Somewhat and Old North.

 
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