Trainer Tony Gollan is confident that likely leader Brave Ali will be suited by the tight-turning Ipswich track when he contests the 2014 Ipswich Cup on Saturday.
Brave Ali has taken up the running in all three of his race starts since joining the stable of Gollan in April and the in-form trainer believes that the Ipswich track, which features a short straight and generally favours horses that race on the speed, will suit the tough gelding perfectly.
Gollan will be chasing his first Ipswich Cup victory, after finishing an unlucky fourth with Topping last year, and believes that Brave Ali is racing well enough to score his second win at Listed level.
“Brave Ali is an on pace runner so he should be suited in the Ipswich Cup,” Gollan said.
“He won the (Listed) Tails Handicap at the start of the winter but the aim all along with him was to target these longer races at the back end of the carnival then go on to the Grafton Cup next month.
“His last run in the Chairman’s was very good.”
Brave Ali made his debut for Gollan with a narrow win over Secret Garden and Collar in the Kirks Handicap (2030m) at Doomben on April 12 and led all the way to record his first win at Listed level in the Tails Stakes (2128m) at Eagle Farm on April 26.
The O’Reilly gelding was given a maiden opportunity at Group level in the Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 10 and he took up the running in the early stages of the race before battling home fairly in the final 200 metres to finish a tough third behind Pretty Pins and Danchai.
Brave Ali is a chance of stepping up to 2400 metres for the Listed Caloundra City Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast on June 28 before heading to Grafton for the Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) on July 10.
The seven-year-old will jump from barrier seven with 56 and a half kilograms on his back in the 2014 Ipswich Cup and will need to be at his best to defeat the likes of veteran gelding Ironstein, Peter Moody-trained Full Of Spirit, tough stayer Angola, imported galloper Garud and the in-form High Aims in the Listed event this weekend.