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Kintyre connections hoping to continue winning Habit

Fri 17 May 2024

By Mandy Cottell 

Another strong performance from Kintyre will earn him a Group 1 shot – but at which race?

The performance of in-form three-year-old Kintyre at Doomben will be pivotal in determining his next start with trainer Gary Portelli refusing to rule out a Queensland Derby bid.

The half-brother to 2022 Golden Slipper winner Fireburn will be shooting for his third successive victory in Saturday's Rough Habit Plate over 2000 metres, having captured Group victories at his past two starts.

But, beyond this weekend, Portelli is considering the merits of backing up Kintyre against the older horses in the Doomben Cup over 2000 metres on Saturday week, testing his stamina in the Queensland Derby over 2400 metres seven days later, or sending him to the paddock with a long-term view towards the Golden Eagle over 1500 metres in the spring.

"We have to make a serious decision after the races on Saturday, do we push on or do we spell?" Portelli said.

"We've got the Doomben Cup or Derby depending on how he goes on the weekend.

"With three-year-olds, class goes a long way, and he might be able to get the 2400. I haven't completely given up on it yet.

"It would be a lot weaker race class-wise than the Doomben Cup, but it's no good being a weak race if you can't run the trip out."

Kintyre is drawn to get every opportunity to showcase his wares from barrier one at Doomben where he will clash with the horse he edged out in the Frank Packer Plate, Gold Bullion, and ATC Australian Oaks winner Autumn Angel, who is a clear-cut Rough Habit Plate favourite.

She will be having her first start in just over a month and has an awkward gate in 14, while Portelli says Kintyre has continued to thrive since his last-start Queensland Guineas triumph.

"Every time he goes to the races he comes out the next day and bucks his brand off," Portelli said.

"He's a machine. He is a very tough horse and there are plenty of years of racing left in him."

Apprentice Cejay Graham will continue her association with Kintyre in the Rough Habit Plate after celebrating the biggest win of her fledgling career aboard the gelding in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas.

Meanwhile, Joe Pride is hoping Private Eye’s versatile racing style will give him a crucial edge at Doomben.

Private Eye has never raced at Doomben, but Joe Pride is banking on the track giving his charge an advantage over favourite I Wish I Win when they clash in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000.

A backmarker with a devastating finish, I Wish I Win is an even-money fancy for Saturday's Group 1 race, while Private Eye is on the third line of betting at $6.50.

The duo has met three times and on two of those occasions, there has been little between them.

I Wish I Win finished a half-length ahead of Private Eye in the 2023 Newmarket Handicap over 1200 metres at Flemington, while Private Eye edged out his Doomben 10,000 rival to snare second in last year's The Everest.

Pride is anticipating Private Eye being ahead of I Wish I Win in the run-on Saturday and given Doomben has a shorter straight than Brisbane's other major metropolitan track of Eagle Farm, he is hoping that plays into the hands of his gelding.

"I would have thought Doomben would be advantage Private Eye, as opposed to Eagle Farm, but we will find out," Pride said.

"It's a short straight and my horse has got a good turn of foot, the other horse might just take a while to wind up.

"He's got to beat a good horse, but he has raced against him before and there is seemingly not that much between them.

"I can't wait. I think it's a nice race for him."

Private Eye has been freshened since finishing third in last month's All Aged Stakes on an unsuitable heavy track, an effort that followed a brace of luckless runs in the Challenge Stakes and The Galaxy when he got too far back from wide draws.

Stablemate Mazu ($15) will also take his place in the Doomben 10,000 after posting an overdue win in the Hall Mark Stakes during the Sydney autumn carnival.

Pride said the win had given Mazu an important confidence boost.

"It's just nice to see those horses that haven't won for a while, win, because until they do it again, you're wondering if it's still there," he said.

"But, it seemed to unlock something with him the other day, albeit on a heavy track. He ran well and the Brisbane carnival is a perfect carnival for him."

Both Private Eye and Mazu are due to travel from Pride's Sydney base to Brisbane overnight on Thursday.