Lindsay Park will tinker with Gentleman Roy’s headgear in an attempt to put an exclamation mark on an unforgettable season for the stable in this Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.
The tenacious gelding will have winkers reapplied as he strives to land a maiden Group 1 win in the $3 million event.
Gentleman Roy sported winkers from late 2021 until midway through last spring, a run that included six wins, but he hasn’t worn them in any of his six runs this year.
Co-trainer JD Hayes said they would go back on in an attempt to spark the six-year-old after an uncharacteristic tardy getaway when 10th in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m).
“We’ve put the winkers back on, he needed the pipe-opener (last start) and he missed the start so it was a bit of a non-event after the first 200 metres.
“Hopefully we don’t get the visitor’s carpark (barrier), which will be a step in the right direction.
“Drawing a barrier would be nice, but we don’t want to miss the start again. That was a bit unlike him, so we’ve gone over him, he strips fitter and hopefully he can prove me right.”
The Kingsford Smith Cup, in which Gentleman Roy started from barrier 15 of 16, was his first start since finishing 11th on an unsuitable heavy track in the Doncaster Mile eight weeks prior with his previous four runs for the campaign having come in Melbourne.
One of those was the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes, when he was first over the line but relegated to second behind Jacquinot on protest, which remains his most recent appearance over the Stradbroke trip.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his brother Ben, conceded it would be a tough assignment with Kingsford Smith Cup winner Think About It, Aft Cabin, Converge and last-start Group 1 winners Ruthless Dame and Royal Merchant among his potential rivals, but said he gets in well with 54.5kg.
“It’s a very, very good field but he gets in nicely at the weights and, on his day, is a very good horse too,” he said.
“He went down to Jacquinot in a weight-for-age race in the Orr, so we’re quite confident that he’ll present himself quite well.”
The Hayes brothers have prepared 130 winners this season, 13 more than their 2021/22 season tally with almost two months of the season remaining, including a second-straight Doncaster Mile crown and All-Star Mile win to Mr Brightside and Little Brose’s Blue Diamond victory.
– RAS NewsWire