Archer slot holders ponder Sunday barrier draw.

Published 27 April 2023

Archer slot holders ponder Sunday barrier draw.

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Startantes and Vega One, the two GR 1 race winners engaged in Sunday’s $775,000 The Archer (1300m) at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park racecourse, fared completely differently in barrier draws.

At a function hosted by the Rocky Amateurs at Paradise Lagoons on Wednesday night, a unique barrier draw themed around cattle saw GR 1 victor Startantes get the wrong end of the “steer” coming up with gate 17.

Fellow GR 1 winner Vega One got one of the better barriers of the 17-horse draft in procuring gate 4.

Rob Carr, the managing slot holder of the Robert Heathcote trained Startantes, favourite for The Archer, would not have been blamed if he had sighed “what a cow of a draw”.

However, that was furthest from his mind as Carr said he is not greatly deterred at all by the outside gate.

“The five emergency runners for The Archer had to be included in the draw for the race but only 12 can start. Therefore she (Startantes) will jump from barrier 12.

Look it may be a slight disadvantage but her style of racing is that she drops out and comes from behind anyhow. At least being wider out she can’t get caught up in early traffic in the race. By being out there she should be out of any trouble and can get back and hopefully get a clear run at them in the straight”, Carr said.

At her only start this preparation Startantes caught the eye rattling home from a conspicuous last into the straight to finish just 4.45 lengths away close-up to the placegetters in Prince Of Boom’s Ascot Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm.

Rob Carr and his wife Leonie are hopeful more so than confident of teaming again with Heathcote for back-to-back successes in The Archer after winning with Emerald Kingdom last year.

Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan starts both Vega One (barrier 4) and Count da Beans (9) in The Archer.

“I’m really happy with Vega One and I have set him for this race all along. Also, I have got him where I am wanting him to be with fitness going in to The Archer,” Tony Gollan said on Thursday afternoon.

He said Vega One, which had not raced since 10th in the GR 2 Apollo (1400m) at Randwick on February 11, when just 4.28 lengths behind champion Anamoe, had trialled well in preparation for the targeted The Archer.

“He (Vega One) has had three jump outs and trials. His last trial at Deagon nine days ago over 1200 metres (beat rival Weona Smartone) was very impressive. As I say he is fit and well and I am expecting him to race well”, Gollan said.

In an astute move from Gollan, apprentice Angela Jones who rides Vega One in The Archer got the feel of the horse through riding him in the Deagon trial.

In some markets Vega One is quoted as much as $15.00 while Weona Smartone (Ryan Maloney) from the David-Vandyke Sunshine Coast yard is a $9.00 prospect. 

Startantes remained race favourite after the barrier draw at odds of around $3.40.

Tony Gollan’s other starter Count da Beans (Kyle Wilson-Taylor) will go to the post as one of the outsiders in the field.

“Look he had good 3YO form and his summer form was fair. He is owned by the slot holders (Archer Park) so he was their logical horse for the race. At his best he has to be there amongst them”, Gollan concluded.

Desleigh Forster trained Emerald Kingdom (Bucket List Syndicate) will jump from 2 gate while Karla and Peter McPhail’s (slot holders of the locally owned) Namazu will start from the rails barrier.

The Archer is the seventh race on the quality eight race Callaghan Park card on Sunday and is set to start at 4.04pm. 

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