Horse racing Entriviere running at Ellerslie 01 January 2022. Photo / Trish Dunell
A surprise change of direction will see Kiwi sprinting star Entriviere take her place in Saturday’s A$700,000 Kingsford Smith Cup in Brisbane on Saturday but trainer Mark Walker says it has nothing to do with his stable losing Sword Of State for the group 1.
Entriviere set tongues wagging with her stunning third in the Doomben 10,000 at her last start 11 days ago and was originally set to miss this Saturday’s race and head straight to the A$1.5million Stradbroke at Eagle Farm on June 11.
Walker had a great back up in Sword Of State being aimed at the Kingsford Smith as an ideal Australian group 1 race to end his race career before heading to stud but that plan fell apart last week when Sword Of State got an infection which needed treatment, ruling him out of the race and into retirement.
Rather than Entriviere sliding in as the stable replacement for Sword Of State, Walker says the change comes about because of the horrid Queensland weather and the mare’s weight of 55.5kgs for the Stradbroke.
“It was a combination of both the weigh and the weather but we didn’t think she would get 55.5kgs in the Strady, not when you think Tofane only got 54kgs last year,” explains Walker.
“We think that weight will make it really hard to win the Stradbroke so we want to give her the group 1 opportunity this week.
“The other thing is the weather. The training tracks are so waterlogged over there at the moment we don’t know what shape we will be able to keep her in for the next two and a half weeks.
“But at the moment we know she is really well and feeling good and she has actually put on 5kg since she ran third last start.
“So one good gallop this morning (Tuesday) should be enough for her and she will be ready to go for Saturday.
“And of course of she races well this weekend there is no reason she can’t also go to the Stradbroke.”
Entriviere’s poor run with draws continued as she was handed barrier 17 for the Kingsford Smith Cup but with five emergences drawn inside her she is set to start from barrier 12 for Opie Bosson.
Another positive sign for Walker and most of the other Kiwi trainers in Queensland is the forecast for the back end of this week which is supposed to see the relentless rain stop and could even see Eagle Farm return to the soft range rather than heavy.
That would not only aid Entriviere but The Chosen One and Coventina Bay as they take on Zaaki in the A$1million Doomben Cup, which has been moved to this Saturday after the Doomben meeting last Saturday was abandoned.
But the three New Zealand-trained horses it will probably aid most are A$1million Queensland Derby contenders Dark Destroyer, Tutukaka and Pinarello, who received some other good new yesterday.
The leading Australian hope in the Derby and equal favorite Algeron will now miss the classic after trainer James Cummings could not get him a plane to Queensland so that leaves Matamata three-year-old Dark Destroyer as the clear favorite for the Derby.
Walker will also have under-rated mare Soprano Supreme in which she should be handicapped on close to the minimum for the 2400m and get her shot at some black type.
“It looks an ideal race for her,” Walker says.