Brave Ali has scored four wins from his past five starts and jockey Jim Byrne is confident that the veteran stayer can maintain that strong form in the 2014 Caloundra Cup at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Brave Ali made his debut for the Tony Gollan stable with a narrow win in the Kirks Handicap (2030m) at Doomben on April 12 and scored his maiden black type win in the Listed JRA Tails Stakes (2128m) at Eagle Farm on April 26 before finishing third in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 10.
The O’Reilly gelding returned to winning form with a tough on-pace effort in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on June 14 and he has been well-backed to score another feature race win in the Caloundra Cup this weekend.
Tegan Harrison has ridden Brave Ali in each of his race starts since joining the Gollan stable, but will be replaced by Jim Byrne this weekend after she was suspended for careless riding at Doomben on June 18.
Byrne finished second behind Brave Ali on Noisy Ocean in the Ipswich Cup and the veteran hoop told Sky Racing HQ that he is delighted to have the opportunity to partner the in-form stayer in the Caloundra Cup.
“I followed him home in the Cup the other and he is actually the same as his namesake, he is brave and he just keeps fighting on,” Byrne said.
“He loves to have something to chase and it was just such a dominant win the other day because he was the one out there doing all the speed and he left nothing in the bag.
“It was just a dogged win and he is going to be right there again, I am sure.
“Tony has done such a great job with this bloke all the way through his carnival.
“The horse has been showing up in nice races and winning them; he has only been beaten in one of his last five.
“The horse has been racing in great form and Tony knows him well and I am just fortunate to be on his back this time.”
Mr O’Ceirin ($2.10) is currently a dominant favourite in the 2014 Caloundra Cup betting market with Ladbrokes Australia, but there has also been a sprinkling of support for Brave Ali ($5) and market mover Ironstein ($5).