Nathan Exelby From:The Courier-Mail
Jockey Paul Hammersley brings Gundy Son back to scale after winning a race at Doomben. Picture: Peter Bull Source: The Courier-MailTHE barrier gods continue to smile on Gundy Son, with recent history suggesting his inside draw is a huge advantage in today's Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich. Gundy Son has drawn four or better in each of his three runs this time in.
The likes of Mr Unforgettable (11), Adnocon (12), Dalzar (13), Tierqualo (15) and Balavan (10) all face a task from their respective barriers.The past 12 Eye Liner winners have come from single digit draws, with Quality Kingdom (13 in 1998) the most recent to have come from a wide marble.The race was switched from 1200m to the seemingly more forgiving 1350m start in 2007, but the four winners since - Mr Hornblower (6), Sneaky Long (4), Mitanni (4) and Adnocon (3) - have all jumped from six or better.Trainer Rob Heathcote is confident Gundy Son can build on his good record at this meeting after the dual Cup wins by Our Lukas in the past two years."Going from 1100m to 1350m won't be a problem."In fact I would have preferred the past two (races this prep) to be 1200m, but he was sharp enough to still get there last time," Heathcote said.Gundy Son was sometimes a difficult horse to follow in the past, but Heathcote says a new training regime has been the key to Gundy Son going to stakes level this time in."We have just tweaked things a bit with his training," he said. "He is a terribly hardgoing horse on the track, so we gallop him a lot less now."We now just give him the one strong gallop leading into a race and just keep him ticking over in between."Adnocon can become only the second horse in 25 years to win the race multiple times.Despite his draw he does have one fact in his favour. The Eye Liner has been defined by blanket finishes.The most notable was when Impaler won in 2006, with only 2.3 lengths separating the first 10. Adnocon is the only horse in the past decade to win by a length or more. The previous horse to achieve that feat was Pittance in 2000, with his four-length win springboarding him to two more wins in the race.Kelly Doughy was bitterly disappointed when Tierqualo came up with the extreme outside gate. Tierqualo was a last-start second to subsequent QTC Cup winner Varenna Miss but Doughty feels luck will bring about his downfall today."Barriers win races. It's going to be much harder now, it will take a great ride from Matt (Palmer)," she said. Palmer is out to emulate his younger brother Michael, who won the race on Sneaky Long in 2008.
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