A change of plans will see last Saturday’s Gunsynd Classic winner Worthy Cause head towards the Group 1 $600,000 Channel 7 Queensland Derby (2200m) at Doomben on June 6.
Trainer John Zielke had originally mapped out a Winter Carnival program that would have seen Worthy Cause dropping back to 1600m for his next two starts after he scored a convincing win as the well supported $4 equal favourite in the Group 3 $125,000 Surfers Paradise RSL Gunsynd Classic (1800m) at the Gold Coast.
The Sunshine Coast trainer had planned to return to his home track for the Group 3 $125,000 XXXX Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) on May 16 then head back to Doomben for the Group 2 $400,000 Sky Racing Queensland Guineas (1600m) on June 6 before embarking on a Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign.
But after winning jockey Justin Stanley gave rave reviews to Ziekle about the ease with which Worthy Cause ran the 1800m of the Gunsynd Classic, Zielke decided to change tact and chase a Group 1 win over the Winter Carnival.
“After speaking to Justin, he got off him and said he’s ready to run 2000m on his ear,” Zielke told The Courier Mail.
“His pedigree says he will have no trouble and with those races coming back to 2000m and 2200m this year, it’s a nice progression from the 1800m he won at on Saturday.
“We have decided that’s a better option than trying to keep him fresh for the two mile races. He won with a leg in the air on Saturday and deserves a shot at a Group 1 now.”
Zielke will now step Worthy Cause up to 2000m in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes at Doomben on May 23 before he tackles the 2200m of the Queensland Derby a fortnight later.
The Queensland Derby is being run at Doomben this year because its traditional home, Eagle Farm, is closed while it is undergoing major track reconstruction and the distance has been reduced from 2400m to 2200m.
Zielke said that he had always though that Worthy Cause would develop into a handy horse and he proved he was above average with a three and three quarter lengths win over 1350m at Doomben against the three year olds before he headed to the Gold Coast to win impressively in higher company.
“I was always confident that this horse would do this,” Zeilke said.
Stanley has been aboard the Choisir colt at his last three starts and Zielke will stick with the widely travelled jockey through the Winter and into the Spring.
“Justin and I go back 20 years and we’ve maintained our friendship the whole time,” Zielke said.
“He knows this horse inside out and rides him beautifully.”