John Sadler is echoing the sentiments of just about every trainer in the Queensland Derby at the moment, that it’s going to take one hell of a horse to bring down Shootoff.
Sadler’s chances lie with Heidilicious at Eagle Farm this Saturday and he has no doubts about where his main competition lies.
Shootoff has mixed it the best at weight-for-age level already this carnival when he ran fourth in the Group 1 Doomben Cup behind Scenic Shot.
He’s the punters favourite and the trainers nightmare.
“Shootoff is the horse to beat and always has been,” Sadler said.
“I would rather see Shootoff not run.”
Sadler is fortunate to have a runner in the Queensland Derby after Heidilicious played up in the barriers for the second start in a row last weekend.
They were forced to trial her in front of stewards but thankfully the addition of a barrier blanket and a tongue tie seems to have done the trick.
“We were going to stop with her after the Oaks but she came through the race so well we trialled her with the barrier blanket,” Sadler said.
“She passed a few slow horses in the straight in the Oaks and we’re just hoping for the best with her on Saturday.”
His other hope on Stradbroke Day The Chevron wasn’t quite as lucky and looks like missing out on a spot in the Queensland Derby.
Sadler needs two scratchings for his horse to sneak in through the back door.
“I’d love to get The Chevron into the Derby,” he said.
“It’ll be a shame if he doesn’t get a run and he’d run a hell of a race if he was there.
“When he ran seventh in the Grand Prix he never got a crack at them and he would have hit the line strongly with a clear run.”
If he doesn’t get a start he will run in the Brisbane Cup, but Sadler says it’s a race that has become almost irrelevant.
“The Brisbane Cup is a race that has lost all interest since it came back to 2400 metres,” he said.
“I’m not being biased but one of the best races in Australia is the Melbourne Cup and one of the reasons is that it’s over two miles (3200 metres).
“There’s always intrigue in a 3200-metre race and the Brisbane Cup used to be like that.
“Years ago everyone used to talk about the Brisbane Cup but not anymore.”
Both his horses are unlikely to be targeted towards the major features back in Melbourne during the spring unless they can produce something incredible on Saturday.
“I’ll be guided by Saturday but I doubt if The Chevron would be mature enough this year to run in the Melbourne Cup and the Sandown Classic probably looks the best suitable race for Heidilicious,” he said.