Melbourne stayer Mr O’Ceirin and Ipswich Cup winner Brave Ali head up the nominations for the Listed $175,000 Ross Maclean Fellowship Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
The Ciaron Maher trained Mr O’Ceirin, one of eighteen Caloundra Cup entries, gets his chance to win a feature race over the Winter Carnival after recording two seconds from his four Queensland starts.
Mr O’Ceirin put in an eye catching performance when second to Streama in the Group 2 $358,000 Wimmers Soft Drinks A. D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 3.
And then two runs later finished second again to Moriarty in the Group 2 $250,000 Merlo Coffee Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm on May 31 before his latest effort when fifth to Floria in the Group 2 $300,000 Croser Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7.
Eagle Farm trainer Tony Gollan has done a great job with former Tamworth galloper Brave Ali, winning three of his four starts for the stable, since taking over his preparation from Craig Martin.
Martin left the seven year old with Gollan after Tegan Harrison scored on him over 2100m at Doomben March 29 with the leading apprentice also sharing his next three wins including a last start all the way win in the Listed $175,000 Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m) at Ipswich on June 14.
Brave Ali was having his first run for five weeks at Ipswich so he is certain to strip a much fitter horse on Saturday in the Caloundra Cup.
Gollan is also eyeing off the Listed $150,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) at Grafton on July 10 with the in-form stayer.
“I can’t wait to get to the Sunshine Coast Cup and I certainly can’t wait to get to the Grafton Cup,” Gollan told The Couirer-Mail.
But Harrison will have to miss the ride this week at Caloundra after receiving a careless riding suspension but will back to ride the gelding in the Grafton Cup.
The Pat Carey trained Angola will be better suited over the 2400m of the Caloundra Cup after making up plenty of ground from well back in the field when beaten less than two lengths when seventh to Brave Ali in the Ipswich Cup.
Two of Angola’s four wins have been over 2400m and 2500m and the five year old will be at the peak of condition following his eighth in the Group 3 $125,000 Programmed Property Services Lord Mayor’s Cup (1615m) at Doomben on May 24 before Ipswich.
Other notable nominations are the Lisa Latta trained Kiwi six year old Zennista and the Gerald Ryan trained Irionstein.
Zennista has failed to run a place from three Winter Carnival starts but will find this easier than her latest eighth to Floria in the Brisbane Cup.
While Ironstein put himself into Caloundra Cup contention when a fourth to Brave Ali in the Ipswich Cup.