Count De Rupee and Jamaea will fly the flag for Kembla Grange trainers Robert & Luke Price in Saturday’s Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm.
The father and son training partnership have sent their classy gallopers north to Queensland in search of a dry track, which they look guaranteed to get at Brisbane racing headquarters, with the track currently rated a Good 4.
Co-trainer Luke Price told HorseBetting that while he ideally would have liked to split the pair up and run Jamaea earlier on in the day in a 3YO Quality, the temptation to run the filly in the Victory Stakes on the minimum weight (54.5kg) was too strong to pass up.
“She’s going to be dynamite on Saturday with that weight on her back,” Price said.
“We wanted to give her a confidence booster, but there hasn’t been the right things to do that and I could see her coming off the back of a hot speed and really attacking the line.
“Oh we were (tempted to run in the 3YO Quality). It was just non-claiming race, 60kg and five or six weeks between runs, the owners elected to go the better way. We get more money to run second in that race I suppose anyway.”
Count De Rupee – Jamaea’s stablemate and likely the main danger to race favourite Rothfire – has come through his runner-up performance in the Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) in fine order and has drawn the inside alley in Saturday’s assignment.
Price said that they had originally planned to go straight to the Doomben 10,000 with the 2021 Golden Eagle runner-up, but the water-logged Doomben track was a deterrent.
“I just thought he did extremely well as he did from the TJ (Smith Stakes) to the race the other day – he just came through his run the other day so well,” the trainer said.
“I’m just really looking forward to getting him back on top of the track.
“Brock (Ryan) thought he wasn’t comfortable at all the other day and he was still good enough to nearly win the race. We’re very happy with the horse, he’s going really well and from the good draw, it’s going to take a very good horse to beat him.”
With the Doomben 10,000 the original plan, Price says he still hasn’t ruled out running in the $1 million sprint on May 14, but he plans on taking things one run at a time.
Another option for last year’s winner of The Gong would be to return to Kembla Grange following Saturday’s run in the Victory, before heading back to Queensland for the Kingsford Smith Cup and the Stradbroke Handicap.
“I still haven’t ruled out the 10,000; we could go to the 10,000 and into a Stradbroke, or vice versa,” Price said.
“Bring him home, and go a month into the Kingsford Smith into the Stradbroke. That’s just something we’re gonna work out. Both horses could be on the same path.”
Count De Rupee has opened the $5.50 second elect for the Victory Stakes, while Jamaea is a $21 chance.
As for the Group 1 features later in the carnival, Count De Rupee sits towards the top of betting markets, with online bookmakers listing him as an $11 chance in the Doomben 10,000 and a $15 chance in the Stradbroke.