Age races a form guide into the Winter Carnival

\"\"Caption: Orchestrate on the way to victory in the Young Guns at Albion Park. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

By Isaac Murphy

The Brisbane Winter Carnival is scheduled to give dogs like Tony Brett’s Listed Young Guns Winner Orchestrate every chance to develop and the way Brett’s chaser is trending you’d be brave to back against him in the Group Two Flying Amy and even the Group One Brisbane Cup.

Brett stressed how integral the Young Guns and Flying Amy series were, the set-up giving him and other trainers a gauge of just where their emerging stars were as they contemplate taking on open company.

“I think the club’s got it spot on starting the carnival with the Young Guns followed by the Flying Amy because you get the chance to see if the young dogs are going to be up to a race like the Brisbane Cup in a couple of months’ time,” Brett said.

“I love the race. The prizemoney is fantastic and being penalty free you don’t lose a fifth grade for winning the series. It ticks all the boxes.”

“Ideally with a dog like Orchestrate he gets to go through those age restricted races this year before the Brisbane Cup and even if he’s not quite ready, you hope he’s injury free and ready to go again next year because the combined experience is priceless.”

Orchestrate has sprung to prominence over the last month. A surprise Group Three Rockhampton Cup winner he showed how good he was against dogs his own age, romping home in the Listed Young Guns semis and final.

“There probably hasn’t been much pressure on him to this point. No-one expected him to do what he did in Rocky, and he was probably a bit of a surprise in his Young Guns heat as well, but he’ll be one of the dogs to beat in the Group Two Flying Amy,” Brett said.

“It’s interesting trying to assess his competition. You’ve got a bitch like Extra Malt who has him covered on the clock, but if he can keep running those first sections consistently, he gives himself a chance in a race like that.”

“I’m sure the $75,000 winner’s prizemoney and Group Two status will attract plenty of interstate dogs, but our advantage is we’ve been here and done it at Albion. I can’t wait to see how he goes.”

Although Orchestrate appears an overnight success, it’s taken plenty of perseverance from Brett to get him to the enviable position he now finds himself in.

“It’s such an exciting phase of the dog’s career because I don’t think any of us know just what he’s capable of,” Brett said.

“He won his maiden in good time at Ipswich and backed it up going 24.8 over the 431. That was only a couple of months ago and I had real questions if he’d even get the five hundred.

“We had to find out and very quickly he’s gone from not breaking thirteen in the run home to going 12.74 and couple that with what he does out of the boxes, and you’ve got a top-class dog.”

Fields are yet to be released (as Chase went to press) for the June 3 Flying Amy heats, but one potential megastar of the sport has already put his hand up to test Orchestrate. Forbes trainer Jack Smith trialling Group Three New Sensation Winner Jungle Deuce two weeks out from the series and he was happy with what he saw – splits of 5.65, 11.53 and 12.68 on the way to a 29.86 gallop.

“It’s his first trip away in the car and it’s always been my ritual to stop overnight on my way to Brisbane, so it can take a bit out of them, but he showed some really good signs,” said Smith.

“He was a bit slow to hit the ground and got lost a bit around the first turn, but that’s why we come up here a fortnight out and give him a look.

“I liked the way he went through his gears – 11.53 down the back and 12.68 is good going especially in a one dog trial seeing the track for the first time.”

Smith headed home after the trial to contest the Inaugural running of the $25,000 Brother Fox event at Dubbo, which he’s a red hot favourite for, before returning for a shot at Flying Amy glory.

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