Local hope Worthy Cause is primed for a bold first up showing when he steps out in the Listed $100,000 ICA Sunshine Coast Ascot Handicap (1200m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Sunshine Coast trainer John Zielke has given Worthy Cause a sound preparation to maintain his good first up record with two jump outs and a 1270m barrier trial win on April 12.
“He’s had a couple of jump outs and won a barrier trial in good time recently so I’m expecting him to go well first-up,” Zielke told Racing Queensland News.
“He’s got a good record first-up with two wins from three and the big Caloundra track suits him.
“I think he’s got the conditions on his home track to win and 1200 metres is not beyond him.”
Worthy Cause was sent for a short break after finishing fourth to Tinto in the $1m Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) at the Gold Coast on January 9 and Zielke believes the four year old has come back a stronger racehorse.
“He’s come back a lot stronger this time and he was still immature when he raced last campaign,” Zielke said.
Worthy Cause has drawn barrier one in the twelve horse Ascot Handicap field and will be ridden again by regular partner Luke Dittman.
The Choisir stallion raced into the spotlight during the 2015 Queensland Winter Carnival when he scored a convincing win in the Group 3 $125,000 Surfers Paradise RSL Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at the Gold Coast.
Zielke then ventured to Melbourne during the Spring Carnival where Worthy Cause was able to win the Listed $120,000 Paris Lane Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
While Zielke is keen for Worthy Cause to try to win a Group 1 race before he heads to stud, he will limit him to second-tier Listed and Group races during the Brisbane Winter Carnival before heading to Melbourne for the Spring and then a possible trip to Perth for their Summer Carnival.
“Ideally we’d like him to win Black Type in each racing year and hopefully he’ll get his chance to win a Group 1 somewhere,” Zielke said.
“He had a very hard campaign last time in so he’ll be kept for some of the second-tier Listed and Group races this campaign before the spring in Melbourne.
“He’s having five races here before he goes to Melbourne for the Emirates and then onto Perth for the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town Stakes in December.”
The Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) is run at Flemington on the last day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival in early November while the Group 1 $1m Railway Stakes (1600m) and the Group 1 $1m Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot are features of the Perth Summer Carnival.
Worthy Cause has edged his way into favouritism at $5 for the Ascot Handicap after opening at $5.50 at Ladbrokes.com.au on Wednesday, relegating Victorian sprinter Jessy Belle to the second line of betting at $5.50.
Ascot Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 Worthy Cause, $5.50 Jessy Belle, $6 Casual Choice, $6.50 Architect, $8 Hopfgarten, $8.50 Frespanol, $15 Mischievous Devil, $19 Desert General, $21 Sambuca Shot, Ellawisdom, Whiskey Allround, $26 Daph ‘N’ Alf.