Desleigh Forster is plotting a path to the Stradbroke Handicap as she puts her faith in Apache Chase being the horse that can provide her with a breakthrough Group 1 success.
Apache Chase won his fourth race at Eagle Farm when he led throughout in the Listed Daybreak Lover (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Forster wanted to use the horse’s high cruising speed and Jim Byrne carried out those instructions perfectly, letting the big gelding stride and carve out fast overall time.
Apache Chase ran 1:23.82, which was 1.3 seconds faster than the Open handicap run over the same distance later in the day.
Forster now has to decide if Apache Chase runs again in a fortnight in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas, or she eases off him and aims at the Fred Best Classic, which provides a ticket into the Stradbroke.
Forster is mindful Apache Chase’s rating needs to improve in order to gain a Stradbroke run, so the ballot free race has plenty of appeal.
“He loves it here at Eagle Farm, so the Stradbroke is the logical race for us to aim it. It’s just a matter of how we get him there,” Forster said.
Later, Kris Lees took out the Listed Ascot Handicap with Zaniah, who camped out the back before overhauling all of her rivals with a withering burst under Andrew Mallyon.
Graeme Green said he was satisfied with the first up run of Stradbroke-bound Master Jamie, who he felt may have been a touch “dour” for the 1000m first up. He will run next in the Group 2 Victory Stakes in a fortnight.
Earlier, reigning premier rider Baylee Nothdurft made a triumphant return to Saturday metropolitan riding with a skillful display on easing favourite Stellar Magic.
Nothdurft was concerned he had been shuffled too far back, but he kept his cool and found a trouble free path through the field to win.
Stewards upheld a contentious protest when Get Stuck In was awarded the Open Handicap (1400m) over first past the post Junction.
Junction’s trainer Mark Currie and jockey Michael Rodd were taken by surprise at the decision, believing Get Stuck In had cost himself by wanting to hang in and not take the gap available to him.
But stewards ruled a slight shift in from Junction, which meant Get Stuck In had to ease and come around heels, was enough to justify the upheld decision.