Fears that the tricky Gold Coast track could be the undoing of smart three year old Sizzling in the Group 3 $125,000 Pacific Petroleum Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) have been pushed aside by top jockey Chirs Munce.
Even though Sizzling has a victory on the track at the corresponding meeting last year in the Listed $100,000 Moreton Hire Ken Russell Memorial Classic (1200m) as a two year, the Snitzel colt missed out on the two big ones at the last two Magic Millions Carnivals.
Sizzling got a long back before running home late to finish fourth in 2012 in the $2m BMW Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) then was out of luck again when second to Saluter in the $820,000 Gold Coast Magic Millions 3yo Guineas (1400m) in January.
“The Gold Coast can bring a few unstuck but he’s won around there and he was unlucky in the Magic Millions, he probably should have won the three year old classic,” Munce said.
Munce, who had ridden Sizzling in all his race starts, had to hand over the ride to fellow hoop Craig Williams while undergoing treatment for throat cancer when the three year old was narrowly beaten by Saluter.
Back riding winners again, Munce is confident that Sizzling will keep on improving and be a force in the upcoming Group 1 races over the Winter Carnival.
“He’s done everything right and hopefully he can measure up and take the next step to weight-for-age,” Munce said.
Sizzling came out of last year’s Winter Carnival the top two year old after being undefeated from four outings including the major prize of the Group 1 $500,000 Patinack Farm T J Smith (1600m) at Eagle Farm.
Trainer Kelso Wood has his eye on another big trophy, the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 and will keep Sizzling to his own age leading up to his grand final.
After Saturday, Wood will head towards the Group 3 $125,000 Ascend Sales Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 18 with his star three year old before having his final Stradbroke hit out in the Group 2 $350,000 Sky Racing Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm the week before.
“He would be carrying the same weight in the weight-for-age races, so it makes sense to take on his own age,” Wood said.
“I’ve spoken to the handicappers and they assure me he’ll get a run in the Stradbroke and running in the Guineas gives him the same seven-day back-up into the Stradbroke as we used to win the T.J. last year.”
Sizzling has been posted the $3 favourite for the Gold Coast Guineas ahead of the Peter Snowden trained Academus at $4 with Saluter next in the betting at $7.50.
Academus finished behind Sizzling on three occasions last Winter and stable foreman Brad Widdup says the Lonhro gelding will get his chance to turn the tables.
“His old sparring partner Sizzling has been too good for him a couple of times but he’s older and wiser now so we will see what happens,” Widdup said.