Trainer Darren Johnstone's Molly Anne. Picture:
Trainer Darren Johnstone's Molly Anne. Picture:

Exciting Ipswich Gold Cup warm-up looms at Showgrounds



Isaac Murphy

THE Group Two Ipswich Gold Cup heats blast off on next Thursday night's special program.

Some live chances have come together in Saturday's Cup Prelude for one last hitout before the series.

A gun field of Free for All class have come together to serve as an appetiser for Thursday night heats.

Six of the eight starters are multiple time winners at the track and trip. The whole field has claims of their own.

Joanne Price's ageless wonder Infrared Star comes up with the red. The versatile chaser will be hard to beat especially given his sprint cantered campaign this time in.

Previously a Free for All commodity over the 600 and 700 metre trips, Price has concentrated on the shorter journeys. She has raced seven times at Ipswich since the dog returned from injury in July.

Infrared Star's blend of power and speed are sure to be a factor not only in Saturday's prelude but in Thursday's heats. He'll likely be joined by brother Infrared Lad who has carried the load while Star was injured.

Molly Anne, Farmor Watch Me

LEADING trainer Darren Johnstone suits up Molly Anne in the checks. Molly Anne has been racing the clock to be ready for the Cup, a couple of promising runs back from a three-and-a-half-month spell.

The bitch had put herself on the radar as a middle distance star pre-spell but has only gone unplaced once at track and trip from 10 appearances. She will be rattling home.

Farmor Watch Me in the three is an interesting runner for Wayne Scott. The dog is short of experience at track and trip. However, his Albion Park form is strong, and his racing style should lend itself to the tough Ipswich circuit.

He was stacking up the wins over the 500 metres but in the last two weeks Scott made the switch to the 600 where he led up on both occasions, faded on debut but was brave in winning last start.

He is well in commission if he can show the same early speed to go with his new-found strength. The Ipswich 500 metres could be spot on.

Scott's second runner Townson Beach has shown he can tangle with the best Queensland has to offer at Ipswich, almost causing a huge boilover in Young Guns Final finishing a head off Federal Morgan and a nose behind Oh Mickey in July.

He dog has gone from strength to strength since winning at Albion, but his best is saved for Ipswich and namely wide draws.

He is a big danger to sail across and lead from the seven here. If he does, he has no problem running the trip in good time.


It's A Rush. Picture:
It's A Rush. Picture:

It's A Rush, Nangar Kash

GERARD Bowe's It's A Rush in box four looked a dog for the future. But his recent performances, including a third in the Bundaberg Cup, show he's ready to win now.

The locally trained dog boasts a six from eight record at the track having never missed a place.

Despite the squeeze box on Saturday night, It's A Rush will be right at home at his favourite track.

With a vacant box outside him he has the speed to push forward early and possibly lead the likes of Infrared Star and Molly Anne, to further bolster his confidence for the heats after a six length last Saturday night.

All eyes will be on Wade Liddell's Nangar Kash in box six.

The four-and-a-half-year-old boasts a brilliant 22-win record tangling with some of the best dogs in NSW over the last couple of years.

Liddell brought the son of Brett Lee to Queensland this time last year but was cruelly cut down by a career-threatening injury shortly after arrival.

The trainer never gave up on the dog and has worked diligently to get him back.

His last race was in the Masters Meteor Final at Wentworth Park 12 months ago, so there are plenty of question marks. But if Liddell has him back to his best he could be a knockout hope in the series.

It Ain't Billy

THE Prelude's final runner is perhaps Queensland's most improved dog It Ain't Billy.

The chaser spent his first 55 starts with the Elson kennel before Nicole Connell got her chance leading him to four Albion Park victories from eight starts including a pair in Best 8 company.

He dog may not be suited from box eight on Saturday night but give him an inside draw and the professional chaser does just about everything right.

He's not the quickest away but knows how to scrape the paint and take a gap. He's an out and out 520 metre dog as well. He'll keep trying right to the line.

While there will be plenty of better credentialed dogs coming in fresh for Thursday's heats, you can't underestimate the confidence the winner for the Free for All Prelude will take forward. It's a cracking insight into the contender's and pretenders for the heats.

Bad Benny bounces back to form

IT"S been a stop-start career for the Tony Brett trained Bad Benny.

On several occasions, the dog has looked like he has been ready to take the next step into Group racing before form or injury has curtailed his run.

Fresh of his latest 80-day holiday, the dog put in two average runs to start his campaign over the unsuitable short course at Albion Park. But it was a different story when he jumped from the pink over the 431 at Ipswich last Friday where he showed he's still got plenty of good racing in him.

The dog was the class runner of the master's field and looked a generous price at $1.95 given his resume.

Once he made it around the first corner safely, it was get in the queue time as he stormed home in 24.98.

The dog most notably holds a 30.21 best over the 500 metres at Ipswich. His latest performance may push Brett to give him the chance in the Gold Cup heats.

Shakey Diesel shining when it matters

PETER O'Reilly's Flying Jet has been taking the headlines away from long time kennel king Shakey Diesel.

However, the old champ has regained his throne in the las week twice beating his younger kennel mate in the build up to the Ipswich Gold Cup heats.

Shakey Diesel has been a Free for All star for the majority of his career, never afraid to tackle the likes of Oh Mickey and Stinger Noir at their best. His body of work stands at 97 starts for 27 wins and $175,000 in prize money.

The dog has been so durable it'd be easy to think he's in the twilight of his career. But at bang on three and a half years old, he's racing as well as ever evidenced by his Free for All win last Saturday night a Ipswich followed by another tune-up at Bundaberg on Monday.

Shakey Diesel outduelled Infrared Star, Molly Anne and Big Boy Bruce, among others, in his Free for All win last Saturday. Just two days later, Shakey Diesel brained the field by eight lengths over the 460 metres at Bundaberg.

You want your dogs peaking at the right time and O'Reilly looks to be spot on with his old warrior.