When in doubt, back Kelso Wood.
Punters could do worse than follow this mantra at Brisbane’s winter carnival.
While the high profile Queensland stables of Robert Heathcote, Tony Gollan, Kelly Schweida and Patinack’s John Thompson send out big teams of runners and receive plenty of media coverage, Wood quietly and craftily prepares a small team with great success.
With 22 winners this season, Wood currently sits in equal fifth position in Queensland’s metropolitan training premiership.
But when it comes to strike rate, the Eagle Farm trainer is a good thing.
Wood’s 22 winners have come from just 68 runners, giving him a strike rate of 32.4 per cent. That figure is not only the best in Queensland, but the entire country.
That is compared to Heathcote (15.7%), Thompson (12.4%), Schweida (17.3%) and Gollan (12.8%).
The only trainer who gets close in Queensland is Desleigh Forster (29.7%) who has sent out 64 runners for 19 winners.
Wood’s training ability and horse placement was at its best in the opening race of the winter carnival on Saturday when Benny’s Buttons took punters by surprise in the BRC Dash.
It was the five-year-old’s first race in 22 months after a lengthy injury layoff but despite his $14 price he was clearly back to his best, defeating well-regarded sprinters Excellantes and I’m Cool.
Wood had three runners on day one of the winter carnival, with unraced two-year-old Into The Red finishing sixth in the Champagne Classic and exciting sprinter Someday a narrow second in the Class 6 Plate.
Wood has entered Sizzling in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) and Belltone in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) for day two of the winter carnival at Doomben on Saturday.
Stable star Sizzling continues his Stradbroke Handicap campaign after a luckless fifth in the Gold Coast Guineas first-up while Belltone bounced back from an aborted summer campaign with a solid Prime Minister’s Cup fifth.
Both horses tasted plenty of success during Queensland’s premier racing period last year.