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Headlines Today is 31/08/2014
Doomben Track Manager Jim Roberts (pictured) has kindly advised the website just after 3pm today as to the very latest on the Doomben track, which all day has been doing its best to dodge showers. We're all with Jim and the team willing the showers to nick off. The 2014 Doomben Cup if it was run on a good 3 track would be a ripper, as some of them in the race are one trick ponies and are clearly better on top of the ground.

Australian weight-for-age racing copped a major slam dunk, both in this country and internationally, on Cox Plate day last year when roughie Shameous Award won the 2013 version of the Cox Plate. To prove the effort wasn’t a fluke he really needed to go on with the job this time in, but he’s gone like a crippled soldier crab at his last two starts in the Australian Cup by running sixth of nine on a good 3 track, before he clocked in an awful fourteenth of 15 in the Rosehill Guineas against his own age group some 21 days later, when he was beaten just over 18 (so there’s no confusion here in words that’s eighteen) lengths.

But alas all is not lost, as the 2014 Doomben Cup is, in my humble opinion, about the most interesting race that has been run in the State of Queensland year-to-date. It features a line-up of 10 horses and on face value you’d have to say seven of the 10 were winning chances. It would be impossible to see any of Fat Al, Floria or Angel of Mercy winning, but one could mount a case for each of the other seven runners. As I always write, Moriarty needs a good 3 track to produce his best and may or may not get that as it’s dependent on showery weather around Brisbane today what the track rating finishes up. Mr. O’Ceirin was home and hosed in the Hollindale Stakes at the Gold Coast last start when his condition gave out, simply because he was only second up. Akzar won the Warrnambool Cup last start by six lengths. Not many horses win $200,000 black type races by six lengths round Australia. Junoob has been flying lately and has won three of his last five starts. The two times he’s got beaten were last start on a heavy 8 at the Gold Coast and at Rosehill on 1/3/14 on a slow 7 track. He’s back on the drier ground tomorrow. Slow Pace has only struck a good 3 track once in his three Australian starts and he ran a huge race first-up for 29 weeks in the Newcastle Newmarket. He’s been easy held on a heavy 9 and a slow 6 since, but maybe he’s just a good or dead track horse? Leebaz has won three of his last four starts and he’s in the best stable in the country – John Hawkes. Whilst he’s unknown beyond 1600, he’s by Zabeel, which will help him try to run 2000 metres. Then last but not least of the seven chances is Streama and she’s won three Group 1 races and she’s a last start winner on a heavy 8 track at the Gold Coast. Her trainer insists she’s better on a good track these days as she’s got older.

So if the 2014 Doomben Cup is not a really good race, then I’m a very poor judge. Six of the seven chances could go forward and be Melbourne Group 1 Spring Carnival contenders with a good showing in this race tomorrow. Hopefully by the Melbourne Spring Carnival Streama will be barefoot and pregnant somewhere as I find following her “impossible”.

Doomben Track Manager, Jim Roberts kindly advised the website just after 3pm today that he was happy with the Doomben track, which he rated as a dead 4, advising "the track has dodged the rain so far today, but the few showers that we've received earlier in the week have done the track the world of good". Jim stressed that "it's cloudy and the showers are still around, but so far today they have all gone around us".

Racing Queensland Cadet Handicapper Sam Watson has advised the scaled weights for Doomben tomorrow and they are Race 4 – 3kgs and Race 8 – 5.5kgs so he’s telling us, in my words not his that those two races, headed in the weights by She’s Clean and Solzhenitsyn respectively, have some classy individuals nominated.

The apprentices can only claim in one race tomorrow at Doomben (Race 1) so the only apprentice that can claim at the meeting is Beau Appo and Beau will ride at 49kgs and he can claim 3 kgs. Beau’s father Lyall rode at Quilpie last Saturday where he won the main race on the day, the Quilpie Cup, on the Mark Goodwin trained Jack ‘N’ Me. In winning Jack ‘N’ Me beat the odds-on favourite Regal Prince, which was ridden by four-kilo claiming apprentice Jessikah-Lee Brand.

Today on I look at a heap of horses to avoid at Doomben and explain why. On I take readers through what a deplorable meeting the last Scone standalone meeting from last year turned out to be, whilst on Matt Nicholls previews a race.

The Postman has sent his thoughts through and they read:

All eyes will be on Doomben tomorrow & I'm anticipating Hucklebuck will earn his ticket to the Stradbroke with a victory in the Fred Best Classic. This 3YO gelding has shown immense talent in his short career thus far and this assignment looks perfect for his return to racing after throat issues in the Australian Guineas. Hucklebuck won easily first up last prep over 1200m, then was even more dominant when defeating Prince Harada second up @ Caulfield over 1400m. Such was the dominance of his win in the CS Hayes, he was sent out favourite for the Gr1 Australian Guineas. As mentioned earlier, he suffered throat issues during the race therefore his below par performance in the Guineas was excusable. After a short break, trainer Phillip Stokes sent Hucklebuck to the trials recently, where he won with his head on his chest in easily the best time for the day.

Tomorrow Hucklebuck will have his first look around Doomben and he will also tackle the clockwise direction for the first time in his short career. Whilst they may present a challenge, I suspect Hucklebuck has the talent to overcome these negatives & still perform very well. Firstly, he's drawn well to be able to settle just off the pace. He's well weighted against most of these, considering his ratings around this distance range are far superior to any of his rivals. Add to that he's undefeated first up, the track conditions should be favourable, & regular jockey Dom Tourneur rides. All these factors make him very hard to hold out with even luck for mine.

If Hucklebuck can be ridden with cover & settle not too far off the pace, he should be able to extend in the straight & win with something in hand. I think he is a lightweight chance in the Stradbroke, and I expect he will race accordingly tomorrow.

Hucklebuck opened around the $2.90 mark with most agencies, which I personally think is a shade of overs. I rate Hucklebuck a 6-4 or $2.50 chance. I'm expecting the bookies to take a set against Hucklebuck, so I don't see his price shortening too much before they jump. He's a quality gelding, and I think you will see that quality on show tomorrow.

Doomben 5-3 Hucklebuck.

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