2024 Queensland Racing Carnival homepage
  • Home
  • News
  • Neasham praises Pollard for mighty effort ahead of Stradbroke

Neasham praises Pollard for mighty effort ahead of Stradbroke

Thu 13 June 2024

By Jordan Gerrans

With another Queensland winter feature in sight this Saturday, Annabel Neasham has lauded the professional approach of her Brisbane stable chief Todd Pollard in delivering carnival riches for the team.

It has been another big Queensland Racing Carnival for the master Sydney trainer, claiming another Hollindale Stakes (Numerian) and Doomben Cup (Bois D'argent) in recent weeks.

The Sunshine State has been a happy hunting ground throughout Neasham’s tenure as a trainer, headlined by the deeds of former stable warrior Zaaki, among other high-level performers.

They head into Stradbroke day with key runners in all the features – the Stradbroke Handicap itself as well as the Group 2 Q22, where they have a handful of runners, and the J.J. Atkins for the juveniles.

Following Zaaki’s first Hollindale romp in 2021, the Neasham team have set up a satellite stable in Queensland, firstly on the Gold Coast before shifting to Eagle Farm.

Youthful Kiwi horseman Pollard has headed the unit since its inception with the multiple Group 1-winning conditioner effusive in her praise of her assistant trainer.

The Godolphin Flying Start graduate has turned the Queensland team into a regular force outside of the carnival and is regularly competitive in city and provincial events.

“The team of horses are flying up here and the team up here do a great job, hopefully we can keep it going for the next few weeks,” Neasham said.

“Todd is very talented and has been with me pretty well since I started training.

“He has been a huge asset to us and obviously runs the show up here in Brisbane, I rely on him and his feedback is very good.

“The results are as much his as they are everyone else’s.

“He is certainly the forefront of the team up here – the whole team up here have done a fantastic job and hopefully we can nab a big one on Saturday.”

Of the feature events on Saturday at headquarters, the $1.2 million Q22 appears the team’s most likely path to more Group level glory.

Neasham said she could make claims for all her runners after they worked at Eagle Farm on Tuesday.

It will be a team of five in the staying event: Fawkner Park, Bois D'argent, Naval College, Numerian and Spirit Ridge.

"Bois D'Argent, I’m really happy with him,” the top trainer said following Tuesday’s course proper gallop.

“It's obviously a valuable race and I think we go there with a strong hand. Really happy with them and I thought particularly Fawkner Park. He looked very good through the line in his work.

"We've targeted this carnival with these horses, and they all ran well in the Doomben Cup. Perhaps, maybe Numerian was a bit disappointing, but I think he was maybe a bit flat off that short two-week turnaround off that big first-up run.

"All the form lines do tie-in but hard to split which one of mine we fancy the most."

Fawkner Park heads the market as of Friday morning at $4 with Bois D'Argent the next in line from the stable at $8.50.

Fawkner Park - a five-year-old gelding - is a galloper Neasham has high hopes for later this year.

“Is he a Melbourne Cup horse? I don’t know, but of the big three races, I think the Caulfield Cup is probably the one we would have circled because we know he gets 2400 metres,” Neasham told Racenet.

“We have seen how well this carnival can set horses up for those big spring races. It was an unknown going into the Doomben Cup with him because he was coming out of country cups.

“The way he won those against the bias was pretty impressive, but he really put the writing on the wall in the Doomben Cup.

“It wasn’t the deepest of Group 1s, so he will have to go to another level if he’s going to measure up in the spring.”

Neasham has the favourite in the Q22 but her Stradbroke runner - import Mighty Ulysses – is friendless at $61.

Mighty Ulysses drew wide at Tuesday’s barrier draw and has not been at the races since finishing fourth in the Hollindale back in early May.

"He's a hard horse to be confident with as he's temperamental but he was very good winning here over the mile (two starts ago)," she said.

"We then stepped him up to the 1800 metres in the Hollindale and I wasn't sure he'd settle well enough, and he didn't, but he still ran fourth that day.

"It was actually Ryan Maloney's idea to come to the Stradbroke. I think he assumed he might get his weight, but he hasn't, so Damien Thornton rides.

"He's had a couple of sits on him, which has been important because he's pretty headstrong and a hard-going horse.

"I'd say 1400 metres is his minimum trip, so hopefully they go quick and that allows him to relax.

"If he can relax - he's a very good horse as he was beaten less than a length in a St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, so he's got a lot of good credentials from Europe, but he's still learning how to put it all together here.

"A ferocious tempo will allow him to relax so hopefully they go quick."

Neasham will also have a pair of chances in the Group 1 J.J. Atkins, Bosustow ($41 in the market) and Aemelius ($15).

"Bosustow obviously won his maiden during the mid-weeks last week, but Ryan (Maloney) felt like he had improved," she said.

"Aemelius, we'll just see how she is. She had a pretty tough run-on Saturday, but she looks like she's bounced through it well, so she won't do much this week."

Tyler Schiller will partner Aemelius for Neasham. 

"She's got plenty of upside. I think she will be better ridden with a bit of cover, and we've drawn a good gate just to drop in where she is comfortable," Schiller said.

"Obviously (favourite) Broadsiding is going to be awfully hard to beat, but it would be nice to be fighting out the finish with him."

Schiller will be chasing his fourth major and first in Queensland.