Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir is hopeful of getting the favourite Articus on a flight to Brisbane to compete in the Group 1 $650,000 Hardy Brothers Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Weir has had continuing dramas in getting his horses to Queensland and following the cancellation of several flights from Melbourne over the last couple of weeks, the premiership winning trainer reverted to floating his Doomben 10,000 runners to Brisbane last week.
But both Sooboog and El Divino had to be scratched from the Group 1 $700,000 James Boag’s Premium Doomben 10000 (1200m) at Doomben last Saturday after developing travel sickness even though they had a stopover in Sydney to break the long journey.
“Sooboog’s still a bit crook and the other one (El Divino) is definitely on the improve but I’d be surprised (if he raced this campaign),” Weir told racing.com.
“I won’t be floating this weekend but I wouldn’t change a thing that we did – I mean we did everything right. It was just one of those unfortunate things that happen.”
“I’ve got six to go up to Brisbane and hopefully we’ll get a few on the flight on Tuesday and then the others can go either Wednesday or Thursday night.”
“But all we can do it just wait on the flights and see what happens.”
As well as Articus, who is the reigning $4.20 favourite in the early Doomben Cup markets at Ladbrokes.com.au, Weir has also nominated Star Exhibit and Amelie’s Star for the 2000m weight for age Winter Carnival feature.
Chris Calthorpe, who runs Air Horse Transport, said that he has booked Weir’s horse to travel over three nights on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights and is confident that everything will go to plan this time.
“We’re quietly confident without guaranteeing they’ll get up there,” Calthorpe told RSN927 on Tuesday.
“If all the stars align hopefully we can get some of Darren’s horses away tonight and the rest on Thursday morning and then try and get some other trainers up there on Friday morning.
“We’re flying with Qantas and the way the situation is, we’re booked and we touch base with the airline around 9.30-10 o’clock tonight to make sure they haven’t been inundated with freight.
“If that all goes to plan the horses will be at the airport at midnight, load them up on the plane and get them up to sunny Queensland.”
Articus had been well beaten at his first two runs in Australia but the German import showed some of his potential with an impressive last start win in the $100,000 Chairman’s Club Handicap (1800m) at Flemington on May 6.
At his first start on Australian soil under the banner of top German trainer Andreas Wohler, Articus finished down the track when thirteenth to Jameka in the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival and then at his first start for the Weir stable disappointed again with a thirteenth to Hooked in the Group 3 $150,000 Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on April 15.
The Darren Beadman trained It’s Somewhat is the second pick in the Doomben Cup market order at $4.60 ahead of Sense Of Occasion at $7 and Single Gaze at $7.50.
Early market order for the Doomben Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 Articus, $4.60 It’s Somewhat, $7 Sense Of Occasion, $7.50 Single Gaze, $10 Star Exhibit, $11 Amelie’s Star,, McCreery, $13 Benzini, Maurus, $15 Preferment, Vanbrugh, $17 Life Is Ordinary, Mime, $21 Cylinder Beach, Sons Of John, Astronomos, $26 Rudy, $34 or better the rest.