Veteran hoop Damian Browne was unlucky to be without a ride for the 2015 BTC Cup (1200m) following the scratching of talented sprinter Buffering a few months ago, but has been re-instilled as a leading contender for success after being confirmed to partner Srikandi in the feature race at Doomben on Saturday.
Browne has partnered Buffering in each of his last sixteen competitive starts which have included all four of his victories at the highest level of racing, most recently in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in spring.
Suffering an unfortunate fetlock injury in trainer following a competitive performance for sixth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in December, trainer Robert Heathcote was forced to rule a line through the veteran’s Brisbane Winter Carnival preparation when he failed to recover in time.
Understandably thrilled to have picked up the ride on Srikandi for each of her Group 1 tilts through the 2015 Brisbane Winter Carnival, Browne told The Courier Mail he is confident the mare’s return for success in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) a fortnight ago points towards a successful run in the 2015 BTC Cup.
“The ride on Srikandi came at a great time for me when Buffering was ruled out of the Winter Carnival with injury,” Browne said.
“I was initially a bit concerned at why she had such a long time between runs; normally that means an injury or something but that wasn’t the case and I had a look at a couple of her trials and I jumped at the opportunity.
“She ticks every box because she handles most track conditions and Doomben really suits her pattern of racing.
“It is great for me to be associated with such a good horse going into the Carnival.”
Trainer Ciaron Maher is equally thrilled with Browne’s appointment to the saddle of Srikandi this time and believes she is in the right form and condition for 2015 BTC Cup success.
“She had a good, long break which allowed her to really furnish and grow up,” Maher said.
“She is very explosive out of the gates which will be a huge plus at Doomben.
“I would just like to see her rip along and be comfortable in the run and not be restrained, whether she is leading or sitting just off them.
“I was delighted by with the way Damian rode her on the Gold Coast (Victory Stakes), especially considering he hadn’t done any trackwork on her. I think it is a case of horse and rider getting on really well.”
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best 2015 BTC Cup odds, for which Srikandi can be taken at a quote of $4.50 for success.