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Huetor back for another Queensland carnival assault

Thu 9 May 2024

By Mandy Cottell  

Will it be a case of third time lucky for Huetor when he lines up in the Hollindale Stakes?

The retirement of Zaaki has opened the door for Huetor to make an early mark on the Queensland carnival, but a Doomben Cup three-peat remains his primary mission.

The gelding finished fourth to Zaaki in the 2022 Hollindale Stakes over 1800 metres and runner-up to the star galloper last year, but with no Zaaki on Saturday, Huetor gets an ideal opportunity to etch his name on the honour roll.

The seven-year-old arrives at the Sunshine Coast in winning form having claimed the scalp of Goldman in the JRA Plate over 2000 metres at Randwick last start and co-trainer Peter Snowden believes the best is yet to come.

"He is certainly in good form, he proved that in the JRA Plate," Peter said.

"He won really well and while he had a few favours in the run with the inside runs he got, he was strong late and he's ticking over nicely.

"We have saved him for this carnival too.

"He's only had the two runs back so he is going up there will a full tank of juice and hopefully he can perform."

Huetor has drawn the outside gate in the field of 14 but given he is a back marker, Peter doesn't anticipate the barrier being a major negative.

He was a $3.80 favourite with bookmakers on Thursday, just ahead of Kovalica ($4), and while Peter expected Huetor to be hard to beat, he said the horse's main goal was a defence of the Doomben Cup title he had held for the past two years.

"The Hollindale will suit him, but the Doomben Cup is the one we really want to have a crack at again," Peter said.

"So far he's heading the right way."

Stablemate Unspoken will also contest the Hollindale Stakes and Peter is looking for a significant form turnaround.

The import rocketed through the grades in the spring with four successive wins, culminating in his Five Diamonds triumph over 1800 metres, but a trio of unplaced performances this campaign left connections scratching their heads.

While Peter could make excuses for his first two runs in unsuitable races, he expected more from Unspoken when he weakened to finish midfield behind Huetor at Randwick.

"It was too bad a run to be true," Peter said.

"We went over him from top to bottom and found a couple of minor things. Nothing major, but we treated them and hopefully it's enough to get him back to his old self."

'Team Snowden' will also have Golden Gift placegetter Volatile in the Ken Russell Memorial Classic and progressive three-year-old Xidaki in the Queensland Guineas.

Xidaki made the successful leap from maiden grade to claim the Listed Canberra Guineas last start, but Peter conceded the three-year-old had struck a deep renewal of the Group 3 race.

"It normally doesn't stand up that well because most of the horses that have been running here (in Sydney) have gone for spells, but everyone has thought that this year and they've held back some very smart horses," Peter said.

"If he finishes in the first three or four, I'll be rapt, knowing he can improve a bit when he gets to the 1400 metres of the Fred Best Classic and then hopefully onto the Gunsynd Classic. I think that's the perfect race for him."