Dual Group 1 winner Lucky Hussler has drawn a handy barrier in the 2018 Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on Saturday.
The Darren Weir trained Lucky Hussler is a late starter for the 2018 Queensland Winter Racing Carnival because of a hoof problem, but the eight year old won’t get an easier race to return to the winner’s stall after drawing barrier two in the field that has already been reduced to thirteen runners following the early scratching of Oink.
Under the quality conditions of the Eye Liner Stakes, Lucky Hussler, a two time Group 1 winner, only has to carry 61kg, only 2kg more than the Chris Waller trained Religify whose best results in a Group race was a second to Lucky Hussler in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at The Valley during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Weir was forced to scratch Lucky Hussler from both the Group 1 $700,000 Kirin Doomben 10,000 (1200m) and the Group 1 $700,000 Altus Traffic Kingsford-Smith Cup (1350m), both at Doomben, becsue of his hoof problem, and then decided to bypass the Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) last Saturday and wait for the Eye Liner Stakes.
Victorian jockey Dean Yendall gets the ride on Lucky Hussler and the natural lightweight who is frequently called upon to ride the lightly weighted runners, will have to pull out the heavy saddle and some extra lead to make up the eight year olds 61kg top weight.
Corey Brown will also be happy to have a 59kg ride on Religify who has drawn awkwardly at barrier ten.
The Tony Gollan trained I’m A Rippa, on the minimum with 54kg, looks the best of the locals and will jump from barrier six with Jim Byrne in the saddle.
Gollan said that he was very impressed with the way I’m A Rippa has improved this preparation and the Love Conquers All gelding is in top form with a win two starts back in the Group 3 $125,000 Flight Centre BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben on May 19 followed by a second to Snippets Land in the Listed $100,000 Spear Chief Handicap (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast on June 2.
“He is really a preparation ahead of where I thought he would be,” Gollan told AAP.
“He has won a Group Three (The BRC Sprint) and been a terrific second in a Listed race (Spear Chief) this winter.”
Gollan will also saddle up Most Important who will jump from the outside gate with Mark Du Plessis to ride.
Most Important will appreciate the huge drop in grade after being tested at Group 1 level over the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival and is coming off a last start eleventh to Santa Ana Lane in the Stradbroke Handicap.
Final field for the 2018 Eye Liner Stakes
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||5x6001056x||LUCKY HUSSLER||Darren Weir||Dean Yendall||2||61kg||112|
|2||6x1611x22x||RELIGIFY||Chris Waller||Corey Brown||10||59kg||108|
|3||41241×2890||MOST IMPORTANT||Tony Gollan||Mark Du Plessis||13||58kg||106|
|4||8211313×71||MOSS ’N’ DALE (NZ)||Peter Gelagotis||Anthony Darmanin||4||56kg||102|
|5||24271×8300||CHARLIE BOY||Tony Gollan||Matthew McGillivray||9||54.5kg||99|
|6||588×844355||BASSETT (NZ)||Mick Price||Michael Cahill||8||54kg||97|
|7||x21812x312||I’M A RIPPA||Tony Gollan||Jim Byrne||6||54kg||97|
|8||1332311100||TOUGHERTHANTHEREST||Chris Waller||Larry Cassidy||7||54kg||96|
|9||70x300588x||MARENOSTRO (NZ)||Bradley Hudson||Luke Tarrant||11||54kg||95|
|10||21136×6529||PRIVLAKA||Robert Heathcote||Jake Bayliss||1||54kg||93|
|11||115×177811||TYZONE||Toby Edmonds||Jeff Lloyd||3||54kg||93|
|12||7944654210||COOLRING||Joe Cleary||James Orman||12||54kg||92|
|13||1970×38118||BUSHY||Gary Duncan||Tegan Harrison (late alt)||5||54kg||86|