The clash of Lauterbrunnen and Ruling Force at Doomben highlights the growing strength of the annual central Queensland carnival.
Lauterbrunnen, who won the recent Rockhampton Newmarket, and Ruling Force, the Rockhampton Cup winner, will clash in Saturday’s Hogg’s Steaks Open (1600m).
Trainer Robert Heathcote, who prepares Lauterbrunnen, said the fact the winners of the feature races at the recent Rockhampton carnival would clash in the main race of the day in Brisbane was a tick for central Queensland racing.
“They work really hard at getting the Brisbane horses up there. I suppose the locals are a bit unhappy at their chances of winning their local features is diminished,” Heathcote said.
“But in the long term it is good for the profile of the carnival and it is good for betting turnover.”
He said he was not concerned about the distance rise from 1300 to 1600m for Lauterbrunnen because had handled the distance before.
“Jim Byrne who won the Newmarket on him has stuck with him,” Heathcote said.
“Lauterbrunnen has won twice and been placed three times around the Doomben 1600 and this isn’t overly tough.”
Heathcote will also saddle Bewhatyouwannabe and Lordag in the race.
“Bewhatyouwannabe is a stakes winner at this course and distance and I think he goes better at Doomben than his last few defeats at Eagle Farm,” he said.
“We are claiming on Lordag and he gets in nicely here with Brooke Stower’s two kilogram claim. He deserves another win.”
Fellow trainer Kelly Schweida agrees the clash of Lauterbrunnen and his horse Ruling Force is good for the central Queensland carnival.
“I actually went to school in Rockhampton and it is pleasing to see how racing has come ahead there,” Schweida said.
“To have their two feature race winners then being favourites in a Brisbane open is good for them.”
He said Ruling Force had to overcome a bad barrier but his jockey Glen Colless had been in good form.
The John and Chris Meagher-trained Harada Bay is also entered for Sunday’s South Grafton Cup.
Grant Morgan, whose Ontrack syndicate had two winners with the Meaghers at Eagle Farm on Wednesday, said a decision would probably be made on Friday.
“He is honest but we will probably take whichever looks the weaker option,” he said.