Ma­jor play­ers gear up as spring sea­son ap­proaches

Townsville Bulletin - - RACING - MATT STE­WART

IT IS shap­ing as a spring for rac­ing’s power play­ers.

OTI boss Terry Hen­der­son and Nick Wil­liams joked af­ter pro­vid­ing the quinella in a stay­ing race at Flem­ing­ton on Satur­day that they might be “swap­ping” re­sults in com­ing weeks.

Each joked they might have 14 run­ners each in the up­com- ing The Bart Cum­mings at Flem­ing­ton, a race that pro­vides the win­ner a free ticket into the Mel­bourne Cup.

The other gi­ants are about to step up.

Dar­ren Weir will have at least four run­ners in Satur­day’s P B Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield and some of those will back- up in the $ 1 mil­lion Mem­sie Stakes at Caulfield on Au­gust 28.

Weir ex­pects to run Black Heart Bart, Star Ex­hibit, Hu­mi­dor and Amelia’s Star in the Lawrence, with Ja­panese im­port Tosen Star­dom to run in the Mem­sie, at least with Black Heart Bart for com­pany.

He said Black Heart Bart was “go­ing great” but said the other three were a “watch and see”.

Weir played down the strength of his spring hand – al­though an­other Ja­panese horse will join his squad shortly – say­ing “there’s a few sta­bles with as many good ones as me this spring”.

One of those is David Hayes whose top tier of spring con­tenders shapes ev­ery bit as strong as Weirs.

Hayes will run He’s Our Rokki, Tas­beeh and pos­si­bly Se­aburge in the Lawrence and his cham­pion filly Catchy also steps out at Caulfield on Satur­day.

Hayes ex­pects Catchy to es­tab­lish near- cham­pion sta­tus this spring but has the same fear as most other train­ers – Winx, who re­sumes in the Warwick Stakes at Rand­wick on Satur­day.

Hayes said the Blue Di­a­mond Stakes win­ner would prob­a­bly take on the colts in the Caulfield Guineas.

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