Local jockey Ryan Wiggins is banking on a huge upset if he is to secure his first Group 1 win on Famous Seamus in the $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday.
The Noel Mayfield-Smith trained Famous Seamus is one of the outsiders of the eight horse field at $21 alongside of the John Thompson trained Peron.
Wiggins has ridden in eight Group 1 races and is yet to salute but he is not writing off the chances of the five year old who he says has improved since his fifth to Temple Of Boom in the Group 2 $175,000 Greenslopes Private Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm on April 26.
“Noel wasn’t real happy with the way he travelled up to Brisbane and he only came up three or four days before the race,’’ Wiggins told The Courier-Mail.
“Now he has settled in Noel is really happy with him and his work has picked up.
“Hopefully we strike a dry track … as a wet track would be the only problem.”
Wiggins initiated an affiliation with Mayfield-Smith during last year’s Winter Carnival which resulted in him partnering Famous Seamus in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
Famous Seamus finished thirteenth on that occasion, but Wiggins has noticed a vast improvement in the five year old this year.
“When he came up here last year, he (Mayfield-Smith) asked me to gallop him one morning,’’ Wiggins said.
“Then the ride in the Stradbroke came up and because I had helped Noel out, he threw me a bone and put me on him in the Stradbroke.
“I think I have ridden in eight Group 1s and the closest I came was sixth.”
Mayfield-Smith is confident that Famous Seamus will go into Saturday’s BTC Cup in better condition than his last start fifth in the Victory Stakes when beaten less than three lengths.
“He is a lot better than leading into the last race,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“He has settled in really well, his work has been terrific and I am very happy.”
A good performance from Famous Seamus this week could see the gelding head towards the Group 1 $650,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben on May 24 and possibly another start in the Stradbroke Handicap.
The Robert Heathcote trained Buffering still dominates the betting for the BTC Cup and is the clear cut $2.20 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Spirit Of Boom holds down the second spot at $5.50 ahead of Snitzerland at $8, Hot Snitzel at $9, Temple Of Boom at $9.50 and Tiger Tees at $11.
Ladbrokes.com.au will offer the best odds all through the Brisbane Winter Carnival and if you become a Ladbrokes customer you can sign up for the Ladbrokes Card which will enable you to access your winnings instantly from any ATM and via EFTPOS.