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The Blue Army fires early warning shot

Sat 30 April 2022

The Blue Army has wasted little time making its mark on the 2022 TAB Queensland Racing Carnival as Character clinched the Group 2 Queensland Guineas.

Having failed to fire last start in the Australian Derby, the highly-touted Godolphin gelding would not be denied at Eagle Farm as he defeated Dark Destroyer by three quarters of a length, with Ashgrove the best of the rest in third.

Already a Group 2 winner at Newcastle this year, Godolphin foreman Nacim Dilmi was pleased to see Character back on the winners’ list.

“Obviously it didn’t pan out too well last start in a Derby,” Dilmi said.

“Today I told Jimmy (Orman) to ride him very similar to what Tommy Berry did a couple of starts back at Newcastle. He was very dominant back then and was quite dominant again today.

“Probably the step up in distance last start probably got to the top of him. We didn’t think probably would have handled it but back to a mile today he was very good.”

While Plymstock was well beaten into third by Exo Lady in the Listed Dalrello Stakes, the Blue Army, which has enjoyed strong success during the Queensland Carnival in recent years, would not be denied during the opening Group race of Stradbroke Season.

Continuing his rich vein of form of late, Jimmy Orman said it was a thrill to be riding for Godolphin.

“He was just too good, I was the winner a long way out, I just had to find a run and away he went,” Orman said.

“I don’t know if he ran the trip the other day but the way he ran through the line then, you've probably got to have another crack I suppose. I would of liked him to just relaxed a little bit more, but they were going pretty steady. He gave me a good feel running through the line.

“I think he appreciates his Queensland weather so hopefully they keep them prepping towards the Derby.”