There are two reasons why exciting galloper Fender is returning to Queensland as he takes the next step towards the Stradbroke Handicap.
Brett Cavanough is hoping a Class 6 Plate at Eagle Farm on Saturday can be a “gimme” for his Stradbroke Handicap aspirant Fender.
Fender produced an arrogant first-up win at Doomben earlier this month to boost his rating to 82 but needs a big ratings spike or to win a ballot-exempt race to gain a Group 1 Stradbroke start.
Cavanough was initially planning for the four-year-old to next step out in the Wagga Town Plate en route to winter carnival targets but that plan has been altered.
With Ryan Maloney suspended, Hugh Bowman will ride Fender in the $75,000 Class 6 Plate at Eagle Farm over 1200m on Saturday.
The decision to go to the race is about picking up prizemoney, enhancing Fender’s rating and giving him a sighter at the Eagle Farm track where the Stradbroke will be run next month.
Having drawn barrier six, Scone trainer Cavanough is brimming with confidence that his exciting galloper can scoop a sixth win at his ninth career start.
“These Class 6 Plates in Queensland, they can be a gimme for a horse like him,” Cavanough said.
“He is still learning his craft and I said to his owners we will go to Queensland again and get more experience and have a look at him at Eagle Farm.”
Nothing is set in stone after Saturday but the Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on May 15 could be Fender’s next port of call.
“He should hopefully be well-rated by then and that gives me four weeks to the Stradbroke or if I need another run to get in, there are options for him,” Cavanough said.
“The Moreton Cup (a week before the Stradbroke) gets you into the Stradbroke if you win it.
“If we get in the Stradbroke we will definitely have a throw at the stumps.”
Cavanough indicated Maloney would have ridden Fender at Eagle Farm on Saturday had he not been suspended.
But he is delighted to have the services of champion rider Bowman who will ride Fender for the first time.
“This looks a very winnable race for this horse, he had a soft trial last week to blow out the pipes and he’s nice and bright and has worked well,” Cavanough said.