Amanaat the Weetwood mover as Mr Marbellouz waits
TOOWOOMBA gelding Amanaat was the big winner when bookies framed an early market on Saturday's Audi Centre Weetwood Handicap (1200m) as the dust settled on today's barrier draw.
Bookmaker Pat Kynoch promoted Amanaat to the top of his early Weetwood market - in the absence of race emergency Mr Marbellouz - after the in-form sprinter drew gate four in the 14-horse field plus five emergencies.
The $150,000 Listed Weetwood heads a gala nine-race Clifford Park card on Saturday when Toowoomba becomes Queensland's premier weekend race meeting.
This year's Weetwood field is touted as the strongest seen in recent years and the depth of Saturday's race form has proven costly for emerging Toowoomba four-year-old Mr Marbellouz who was balloted out of the starting line-up at acceptance time.
Mr Marbellouz is the race second emergency as trainer Kevin Kemp - who also has Tisani Tomso in the starting 14 - waits for a possible late call-up.
"If he gets a run, that would be great for him from barrier one, but if he misses out he's in another nice money race on the day,” Kemp said.
"But I'm glad to have Tisani Tomso in the race and although he drew 13 alley I honestly believe with luck in running he is a second-to-none Weetwood chance with only 54kg on this back.”
Kynoch also earmarked Amanaat's stablemate Ruettiger as a likely race shortener after he came up with barrier eight for trainer Ben Currie.
"The barrier draw has made it very interesting with a lot of good hopes drawn out,” Kynoch said at today's public draw at Walton Stores in Toowoomba's CBD.
"It is a very open race and before the draw I thought we might be looking at five or six dollars the field.
"But I have Amanaat the favourite at this early stage at around $3.40 - presuming Mr Marbellouz does not make the field - after he came up with the good barrier.”
Last year's Weetwood dead-heater Jumbo Prince will have his role reversed in his bid for back-to-back home feature wins on Saturday.
After coming up with one alley last year, the six-year-old has the outside barrier (19) for his 2018 mission.
Currie also looks set to supply Saturday's UBET Toowoomba Cup (2000m) favourite after Honey Toast met strong support in early betting following today's barrier draw.
Honey Toast - the 2016 Toowoomba Cup winner - came up with gate 13 in Saturday's 14-horse field.
But the wide draw did not deter punters who took the early fixed price of $6 offered by Ladbrokes before his price shortened to $3.90 late today.
But while Honey Toast looks set to carry the bulk of punter's money, the cup shapes as one of the most open seen recently at Clifford Park.
The all-conquering Chris Waller stable supplies its first Toowoomba Cup runner on Saturday when Exoteric lines up for the premier Sydney trainer from barrier two and he holds down second place in betting at $5.
The Currie yard's popularity with punter looks sure to continue in Saturday's Moore Trailers Toowoomba Guineas (1625m) where he's represented by Hang who is the early race favourite 1t $2.90.
# The annual Weetwood Calcutta Sportsman's Lunch will be held tomorrow in the Clive Berghofer Grande Atrium at Clifford Park.
Guest speakers are Jim Cassidy and Billy Moore.
For tickets, visit www.weetwood.com.au or call the Clifford Park office on 46346066.
# TAB racing returns to Bunya Park tomorrow when Dalby & Northern Downs Jockey Club hosts a seven-race card starting at 1.10pm.
Feature events include the Icon Steel Benchmark 65 Handicap (1000m) where Dylan's Luck returns to racing for Toowoomba trainer Lindsay Hatch.
Fixed Prices Today
2.80 Mr Marbellouz
5.00 Ruettiger, Amanaat
6.00 Publishing Power
8.00 Hi I'm Back
8.50 Hopfgarten, Man Of His Word, Raido
12.00 Boomwaa, Our Beebee
14.00 Jumbo Prince
17.00 Sheiswhatsheis, Tisani Tomso, Zumbelina
21.00 Hard Stride
31.00 Choice Bro
67.00 Fab's Cowboy
81.00 With A Promise
Fixed Prices Today
3.90 Honey Toast
6.50 Doubt Defying
7.50 Get On The Grange
9.50 Capetown Hussey
15.00 First Crush
31.00 Bodega Negra, Don't Tell Mamma
67.00 Rock On Ivy
126.00 Shelter Lady, Ruby Guru, Scarlet Poet