Gardiner would like to drink at the Victory Hotel
WHEN Bundaberg trainer Darryl Gardiner first cast an expert eye on Victory Hotel he wasn't sure how the chestnut gelding would perform.
Gardiner's initial thoughts on the un-raced three year old were Victory Hotel was a little uncoordinated, however could see was above average but after this weekend Gardiner could have to rethink his assessment after the running of the $100,000 Rockhampton Cup (1600m).
After getting the hang of being a race horse in some trials Victory Hotel was beaten by half a head in January 2014 at Rockhampton and after 15 starts has the impressive record of 15-8:5:1 for $88,800 in prize money.
Gardner admitted his stable star will find the going tougher in the quality field but Victory Hotel enjoys running at Rockhampton - seven of its eight career wins have come at Callaghan Park.
The race will be the fourth after a spell for Victory Hotel and with wins over distances from 1300m-1800m the journey looks to suite. There has been 15mm of rain at the Rockhampton Jockey Club and Gardiner is hoping for no more before the start of the race at 3.40pm tomorrow.
Gardiner said between some good recent form and having a familiar jockey in the saddle he was looking forward to seeing how Victory Hotel performed in the class field.
"It will be his fourth start from a spell because we wanted to keep him fresh - some of the others have had eight or nine starts," Gardiner said.
"Jimmy Orman had been on him for three of past four wins and he knows how to ride him.
"This will be a good test for him and if he goes well we will be heading south."
Two of the leading chances in the race are the Greg Wehlow-trained Daph 'N' Alf which is coming of a second at Ipswich and first in Mackay over 1350m and 1100m respectively.
While Toowoomba gelding Choice Bro from the Tony Sears stables, which has won over $360,000 over 35 starts, will also be in with a chance for the $64,000 winner's cheque.