A start in the 2019 Stradbroke Handicap for promising three year old Vega One hinges on his barrier manners prior to the start of the Group 3 $150,000 Nuturf Fred Best Classic (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
The winner of the Fred Best Classic is exempt from the ballot for the Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 and trainer Tony Gollan is hoping that Vega One will be on his behaviour on Saturday.
Vega One is rated the $3.80 favourite for the Fred Best Classic at Ladbrokes.com.au but his unusual antics in the starting stalls has trainer Tony Gollan anxiously watching the gelding every time he moves into the gates.
The three year old has an unusual habit of resting his near side hind leg on a tiny ledge inside the gates and on several occasions he has had to be taken out of the barriers and vetted before the start as happened before scoring a runaway three and a quarter lengths win in the Listed $125,000 Queensland Day Stakes (1350m) at Doomben a fortnight ago.
“He has done it every start, he puts his back leg on a little ledge that runs along the inside of the gates, he just puts his near side hind leg up and rests it there,” Gollan told Racenet.
“He just stands there on three legs. I’ve never had a horse do this before.
“I never knew about it when I got him but I’ve gone back and checked the starter’s sheets and looked at videos and apparently he was doing it in Sydney before I got him.
“He is not hurting himself or being a problem for other horses.
“Stewards have talked to me about it – but what can I do?
“This is his time – he is hopefully heading towards the Stradbroke and I can’t stop his preparation and spend the time that is needed to try to fix it.
“When he spells we will put a lot of work in to hopefully make sure he doesn’t do it again.”
Gollan believes that Vega One has untapped ability and won’t hesitate to tackle the cream of Australia’s sprinter in the Stradbroke Handicap if he takes the honours in the Fred Best Classic against the three year olds.
“This horse is ready to have a crack at some good races,” Gollan said.
“He can race anywhere in a field and he has terrific ability – the only problem I have with him really are these barrier antics.”
Vega One will jump from barrier eleven in the eighteen horse field if there is no more scratchings with Jeff Lloyd in the saddle and is currently marked at $21 for the Stradbroke Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au.