The Ex factor with Nathan Exelby 30-04-2021

Well known QLD media man NATHAN EXELBY is a constant at the track and has all the inside information as we head into another big weekend of racing in the ‘sunshine state’.


WILL it be another interstate clean sweep on the features at Eagle Farm on Saturday, or will the locals stand up to be counted?

The Sydneysiders didn’t take long to strike a carnival blow, with EASIFAR (Chris Waller) and LORD OLYMPUS (Mark Newnham) cleaning up the two Listed races at Doomben last Saturday.

The NSW-contingent seemingly hold a compelling hand in the three features at Eagle Farm this weekend too, with ASHEMA heading early betting in the Dalrello, PRIVATE EYE tops the Guineas charts and TREKKING and FASIKA dominating discussions for the Victory Stakes.

So who will be the best local hope of spoiling the party for the visitors?

If Ashema comes up short in the Dalrello, it’s a wide-open race, with quite a number of talented babies on their home track. These include MISS HIPSTAR, who was out of luck in her two runs at the Gold Coast during the Magic Millions carnival.

Once again however, the barrier Gods haven’t been kind and she’s going to need luck.

Ashema certainly has the ‘sexy’ formlines, but it will be interesting to see what risks bookmakers take given she hasn’t really wanted to savage the line in any of her runs so far.

From a punting perspective, I’m hoping she has enough on them to still get home, but there are some reservations.

I’m super keen on Trekking to win the Victory.

I expected him to be shorter to be honest.

Fasika is right there in the market, perhaps with the anticipation of the forecast rain. Even if 20mm fell on Friday, it would be highly unlikely to affect the track, which is simply a monster in the way it absorbs moisture.

Trekking is proven at the venue and I think this is a lovely confidence booster for him to open up the carnival. You would think his big G1 chance will come in the Kingsford Smith Cup this carnival, given the 10,000 looks like being one of the hottest in many years.

Hopefully, this race sets him up nicely for it.

So that leaves the Queensland Guineas.

PRIVATE EYE ran very well behind ELLSBERG from the wrong part of the track. He is seemingly looking for the trip now and will be hard to beat.

But from a local perspective, APACHE CHASE (pictured) is perhaps the best-credentialed to win a feature on Saturday.

He will bowl along in front at a good clip and make sure his rivals have to see the mile right out to nail him down.

His formlines through ISOTOPE during the summer suggest he’s well up to tackling this group of rivals.

Plus, he’s a gem at Eagle Farm.

It should be a good spectacle.


Check out the latest TAB markets here.



THE 2021 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, featuring Stradbroke Season, was launched at Eagle Farm on Thursday, with a stellar line-up of guests – equine and human.

Former Queensland stars TEMPLE OF BOOM and BUFFERING made public appearances for the first time in years and with them was ROTHFIRE, who is on the comeback trail after surgery following last year’s Golden Rose.

It was Rothfire’s first public outing since surgery following last year’s Golden Rose.

Rob Heathcote remains cautious, but optimistic about him making a successful comeback to racing.

The launch also featured carnival Ambassador Steph Thornton, champion jockeys Michael Rodd and Glen Boss and trainers Tony Gollan and Lee Freedman, in his first public appearance since making the decision to relocate his training to the Gold Coast.

Freedman has purchased a number of yearlings this year, but is hopeful of securing some tried horses to perhaps have his first runners in May.

Boss is going to base himself in Queensland for the entirety of the carnival as he presses ever closer to the century of G1 wins mark.


Check out the latest TAB Futures markets here.



BRETT Cavanough’s comments about Saturday’s Class 6 Plate being a potential “gimme” for his promising horse FENDER probably came before it emerged GARIBALDI would be a runner in the race.

Tony Gollan had indicated early in the week Garibaldi would most likely run in the Victory Stakes, so it was a mild surprise when he opted for the Plate to resume after Garibaldi came up with barrier 13.

It does set up for a terrific clash though.

While Fender would have probably gone around an odds-on chance if Garibaldi wasn’t there, market framers have the pair about $2.60 each of two in early betting.

Fender is going to have the in-run advantage. Garibaldi will give away a start and try and gun him down.

I believe Garibaldi is one of the best prospects we’ve seen come through the restricted ranks in Brisbane for some time.

But if he’s going to be vulnerable in one of these races, it’s first up here off the bad gate – against a horse with a good deal of ability himself.

I’m hoping class can get him home, but it promises to be a ripping good race.

Maybe we sit on the fence and take the quinella?



I WAS disappointed to see Richard and Michael Freedman pull LUVOIR out of the Eagle Farm meeting in preference for a start at Hawkesbury.

He looked to be a good gamble at Eagle Farm against a few horses with plenty of convictions. The better barrier and bigger stakes obviously prompted the decision to stay closer to home.

Given he looked well placed in Brisbane, it’s easy to assume the same can be said for Hawkesbury.

He looks to have come back far superior this time in. Going on the trial and then first-up win at big odds, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t add to the winning tally in coming weeks.



GET STUCK IN may have been lucky to gain the stewards’ verdict in his first up ‘win’ over 1400m, but I’m thinking he won’t need any extra help to notch another win this Saturday.

Stewards made a somewhat controversial decision to uphold the Get Stuck In objection over JUNCTION in the 1400m race. While I understand the stewards’ reasons and by the letter of the law the incident cost him more than the margin, I’m not convinced he would have won the race had it not occurred.

What I did like though was the way Get Stuck In powered to the line once he got to the outside.

That was his best ever first-up run.

Given he’s twice a second-up winner in the past and he’s not severely disadvantaged by the weight swing, I think he can win ‘again’ this week.



Trekking (Eagle Farm, R8, No.1): He will improve no doubt, but he’s got a good class edge on these.

Get Stuck In (Eagle Farm, R3, No. 2): Huge return, 1800m is ideal now.


Catch Nathan Exelby on The Playbook every Thursday night on Sky Thoroughbred Central (Ch528). Nathan also appears on Sky Thoroughbred Central’s weekday coverage, RadioTAB’s Saturday morning preview of Queensland’s feature meeting and the Brisbane Racing Club website and social media platforms.


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