Gold Coast trained Celtic Dancer will still struggle to gain a Stradbroke Handicap start even after winning the Group 2 $175,000 QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm today.
Celtic Dancer led all the way from barrier one for Tim Bell but even with a penalty the four year old will find it hard to force his way into the Group 1 $1m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm next Saturday.
Winning trainer Noel Doyle said if Celtic Dancer misses out on a start next week he will target the Listed $175,000 City Of Ipswich Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on June 16.
With noted front runners Listen Son and Audacious Spirit early morning scratchings because of the heavy track, Bell had no worries about taking Celtic Dancer to the lead and safely held Belltone and Joint Chiefs in the run to the line.
Celtic Dancer showed that his win in the Listed $175,000 Carlton Draught Prime Minister’s Cup (1300m) at the Gold Coast on May 5 was no fluke and also showed his liking for the heavy conditions.
“He’s proved it. He has won three times on a track like this. He loves to lead on his own and travel nicely, he’s a bulldog, he won’t give in. We planned to lead,” Doyle said.
“I liked to say we’d run in the Stradbroke but I don’t think we have a chance of getting there so possibly the next one will be the Eye Liner.”
Today’s win capped off a good couple of weeks for Bell with several feature race wins over the Carnival.
“It’s been a fantastic couple of weeks for myself,” Bell said.
“Everyone thought it was a fluke when he won at the Coast but he is a fantastic galloper.”