South Aust great is a Queensland favourite

\"\"Caption: The celebrations are just beginning for master trainer Tony Brett and Co after Sir Truculent claimed his first Group One title, in the Queensland Cup at Albion Park in early July (Photo: Box 1 Photography)


By Isaac Murphy

Sir Truculent is known the country over as the Pride of South Australia, but it’s Queensland where Wally Harkin’s dog finally broke his Group One duck with a dominant display in the Queensland Cup.

The chaser affectionately known as Barney was looking for a clean sweep of Brisbane’s staying races after winning the Listed Gold Cup earlier in the year and Harkins and Tony Brett once again proved a winning formula.

“I’ve always preferred to travel with the dog myself, but it’s a bit tough in the current environment,” Harkins said.

“I can’t say enough about what Tony’s (Brett) done with the dog, winning the Listed Gold Cup at the start of the year and now the Group One Queensland Cup. He gets the best out of him.

“I think he’s one of those dogs whoever you are you can’t help but love him. He’s got such a beautiful nature and temperament and backs it up with ability on the track.”

Locals Maggie Moo Moo and Mick’s Recall were fancied to beat the perennial contender, but Barney put the race to bed early running away in 41.58.

“He’s a dog that senses the occasion. At home here in Adelaide he knows he can drop out the back and run over the top of them,” Harkins said.

“All of his crucial races in Brisbane he’s jumped much better and put himself in the race. It’s something he does at Sandown when he races in Group One company as well.

“When he lobbed second and quickly went up to the leader mid-race, I knew he was home, there are too many miles in those legs to get run down.”

Harkins had the Gold Cup as a reference point to ensure the dog’s preparation was spot on before he left the rest to Brett.

“Having had him up there for two winning campaigns now I know the system I’ve got in place is working,” he said.

“Number one on my agenda is making sure the dog is fully healthy before he travels.”

“That’s why I always send him a few weeks early because I know he’s going to need that first up run before he really comes into his own for the heats and final.”

So close on previous occasions Harkins was desperate to grab that first Group One and is thrilled to finally have the tag.

“I was beginning to wonder if it just wasn’t meant to be, but it’s fantastic to have that Group One monkey off the back,” he said.

“When he won the Gold Cup in February it was a Group One field with Group One prize money, but the race hadn’t been in place long enough to attain Group status.”

“Since then, we’ve been to Melbourne and been runner-up on three occasions in the Bold Trease, Fanta Bale and Speed Star.”

Harkins has kept the stayer in tremendous health over his career and knows he’s got plenty of racing left in him before the breeding barn.

“A few people have started to ask me about his breeding career, but that’s not in my thinking right now,” he said.

“I think he’s racing better than ever and given good health I don’t see why he can’t stay at this level for another twelve months.”

“He’ll eventually go to stud, a lot of people don’t like stayers as good producers, but with his following and being out of Worm Burner I think he’ll throw some really handy ones.”



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