Prolific winners unite at Doomben

Ben Currie
Ben Currie

Queensland’s most prolific winning horse in the past 12 months, De Villiers, is set for his first start for trainer Ben Currie who has won the state’s most races for the same period.

Former country galloper De Villiers will be making his Brisbane debut in Saturday’s Sky Racing Handicap (1200m) at Doomben.

Currie had a double at Ipswich on Wednesday which took him to 107 winners overall for the season.

De Villiers won the Charleville Cup (1620m) by six lengths in November which took his Queensland record to 10 wins and a second.

Trained and part-owned by Barry Sheppard at Cunnamulla, the regally bred De Villiers, who is by Redoute’s Choice out of Pure Beauty, arrived in western Queensland last March.

He had raced eight times in NSW for one minor placing but De Villiers quickly took to country life.

In the 12 months since, De Villiers’ only loss has been a second placing behind country star Fab’s Cowboy at Charleville in July.

Sheppard, who bought De Villiers off the internet, rarely comes to the city although he had success with a horse called El Tempestad in the early 2000s.

It was decided to give De Villiers his chance in city racing with Currie who is preparing for a big winter carnival and in particular next week’s Weetwood meeting in Toowoomba but is looking forward to De Villiers’ debut for the stable.

“De Villiers has been with us a while and it will be interesting to see how he measures up,” Currie said.

Currie is hoping to win his second Weetwood with last week’s Doomben winner Amanaat and second Toowoomba Cup with Honey Toast.

Amanaat has won six of his past seven races and the win should lift his rating into the comfort zone for the Weetwood ballot.

Honey Toast won the 2016 Toowoomba Cup and was having his third run back from an injury-enforced spell when second at Doomben last week..

“They won’t beat him in the Toowoomba Cup. He is really firing now,” Currie said.