Giant gelding Fighting Teo can confirm his claims to being Queensland’s best hope of ending a southern domination of the state’s staying contests when he races at the Gold Coast.
Fighting Teo, who stands more than 17 hands, has won seven races but has been a work in progress for Toowoomba trainer Kevin Kemp.
“We have always felt he would take time to really get to his best,” Kemp said.
“What he has done so far – won seven races and been placed in Sydney – has been done on raw ability.”
Fighting Teo will be having his second start since a spell in the Open Handicap (1800m) at the Gold Coast on Friday.
Queensland’s staying races this season have been dominated by interstate trainers Kris Lees, Chris Waller and the Ciaron Maher-David Eustace partnership.
However, with metropolitan racing in Queensland split into regions the staying ranks in the state are thread bare until the possible influx from southern stables.
Waller and Lees have Gold Coast satellite stables and they have been restricted to running their horses in the southwest metropolitan zone.
Waller will have two runners in the Oopen including likely favourite New Universe.
Kemp, who is based in Toowoomba, is also in the southwest zone but can see the benefit of taking on Waller and Lees.
“It gives us a good idea where we stand. Fighting Teo only had a light preparation last time because we had him earmarked for the winter,” Kemp said.
“I had planned to run him in races like the Ipswich Cup and Caloundra Cup. But with them off the table I will have to have a really good look at what is there for him.
“Maybe the Tattersalls Cup which is back in distance from 3200m to 2400m might suit him,” Kemp said.
Former northern rivers jockey Allan Chau will ride Fighting Teo for the first time.
Chau switched to the Gold Coast this season and has ridden 32 winners including a treble at Ipswich on Wednesday.
“Allan has really made a mark and I have been watching him since we have been racing more at the Gold Coast,” Kemp said.