Day At The Track

Eastman chasing history

01:27 AM 14 Jul 2016 NZST
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Menin Gate
Menin Gate

No harness racing trainer has ever prepared back to back winners of the Queensland Derby.

Many have featured multiple times but never has a trainer scored successive victories.

On Saturday night, respected Victorian horseman Larry Eastman is hoping to rewrite the history books and do the unthinkable following his victory last year with the mighty Menin Gate.

Eastman prepares Iceenothink in the $75,000 Sure Duz Mosquito Candle Queensland Derby, and the Art Major gelding has been installed as the favourite after drawing the inside gate in the 2680m feature.

Again, champion reinsman Chris Alford will combine with the Eastman trainee.

But he has a simple message for punters.

“This horse is no Menin Gate, he’s a nice horse who continues to improve but he’s not at the level that Paulie was last season. We think he deserves his chance in a race like this and his recent form is very good, his run in the Vicbred Final was very good last start so we’ve decided to head north again.” Eastman said.

Iceenothink has developed nicely this term which followed on from his unbeaten rookie season and Eastman has been thinking Queensland Derby as a long range target.

His efforts during the recent Vicbred Super Series have only confirmed the thoughts of Eastman; Iceenothink finished a brave second behind talented pacer Dont Hold Back in the July 2 feature.

“I’m really happy with his form, I thought he performed really well during that series and his effort in the final was very good. Gary (Hall Jnr – Driver) said he went very well and the Queensland Derby comes at the right time, we don’t need an excuse to be in Queensland at this time of the year.

“The draw is lovely because it looks a very open race on paper; there is no standout and most if not all can win this race with some luck on their side. This horse has gate speed and Chris has options while the distance shouldn’t pose any problems.

“The Gold Coast Derby last week was a keenly contested race and this week will be no different, I thought there were a number of good efforts in that race and I’m not selling any them short. This should be a good race.”

Last year, Menin Gate won both the Gold Coast and Queensland Derby classics but given the Vicbred series and the Queensland carnival clashing, Iceenothink was never considered for the Gold Coast Derby.

UBET have listed Iceenothink as the $2.40 favourite.

Chris Barsby

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