Tony Gollan is hoping Stradbroke fancy Vega One will soon start making headlines for the right reasons, but fears a bad barrier could delay that happening in Saturday’s Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben.
Vega One was the subject of a stewards inquiry after a luckless first-up fourth at the Sunshine Coast last month and top apprentice Baylee Nothdurft was this week outed for three months on a handling charge over his ride on that occasion.
Nothdurft has appealed his conviction and has the full support of Gollan.
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“I respect the stewards have the right to do their job, but I also believe in Baylee’s rights of appeal,” Gollan said. “I support Baylee’s case and Baylee’s intentions in the race.”
Under Queensland’s failing appeal system, the case is likely to drag on for well beyond a year and Gollan has told Nothdurft to put the incident behind him and concentrate on his riding.
Vega One is battling with Sydneysider Kementari for favouritism on Saturday, where his task has been made tougher by drawing the outside barrier.
“Second-up last prep I went to 1350m and I was able to chance my arm (by pressing forward off a wider barrier). I don’t think it’s possible over the 1200m,” Gollan said.
“I don’t like at all where he would get to if I tried that.
“I think this horse is best off a good barrier where he can settle second or third pair, but I think our best bet (Saturday) is to go back and get on the back of Kementari and try and follow it in the run. Ryan (Maloney) is sure to give it a good ride.”
Stablemate Outback Barbie has drawn perfectly in gate three and for that reason, Gollan fancies her chances slightly more on Saturday.
“Outback Barbie has a great first-up record and is hard to beat around Doomben from good gates,” Gollan said. “She’s a quality mare and maps to get a lovely run fresh up. She ticks a lot of boxes for mine.
“Barriers were the key for these two horses. If (Outback Barbie) drew 10 and he drew three, I’d be all over Vega One like a cheap suit.”
That said, Gollan won’t be shocked if Vega One were to still get them down.
“I still don’t know where the roof is at for this horse,” he said. “If they overdo it upfront, he’s going to be rattling home in some pretty slick sectionals.”