The Ex Factor with Nathan Exelby 03-05-2021

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’.


JOE Pride is hoping history will repeat in the spring when PRIVATE EYE is aimed at the Golden Eagle.

Pride pulled stumps on Private Eye’s Brisbane campaign after he won the G2 Queensland Guineas on Saturday.

After the race, he speculated how Private Eye could be a Stradbroke contender, while jockey Brenton Avdulla suggested the son of AL MAHER could comfortably handle more ground and possibly be a Queensland Derby contender.

But after the dust settled, Pride decided a spell was the best option, telling RadioTAB Private Eye would be aimed at the ‘Eagle’.

“He will be staying in Queensland for a spell, but he won’t be racing again during the carnival,” he said.

“He won four in a row, had a 19-day break, came back, had another three runs, that’s enough for him. When he hits four and five years’ old he will be infinitely better than what he’s doing now.”

Pride noted Kolding graduated off a Queensland Guineas victory to land the Epsom and Golden Eagle in 2019 and that’s the path he will take with Private Eye.

“When you watch him (Saturday) it’s hard to say he wouldn’t run 2000m, but I think he’s a miler,” Pride said.

“The Golden Eagle, against his own age … he would (also) sneak into an Epsom pretty light, which Kolding did. I’d love to think he could turn out as good as Kolding.

“If you look after your horse you can have them around for a lot of seasons and have a lot of fun.” Pride added.

Private Eye was hardly the horse you wanted to be on in the run.

Avdulla confirmed he thought the gelding was going to finish closer to last than first as he approached the turn, but soon after straightening, it was a different story.

Private Eye soon picked up the bit and set out after Apache Chase, who had been softened up early before crossing to lead.

“I was under hard riding before the corner and I thought it was going to be a waste of time to be honest,” Avdulla said.

“I just gave him his chance and got him to the outside and once I put him under a fair bit of pressure I felt him respond.

“They were two different horses; the one before the corner I was going to run last and once I got him to the outside he finally did his job and did it well,” Avdulla said.



MEANWHILE, Pride says EDUARDO is progressing very well towards the Doomben 10,000, where he is now a dominant favourite in the absence of NATURE STRIP.

“Part of me loves those battles with that horse and I would love to take him on again,” Pride said.

“It certainly leaves the race open for my horse, but I don’t take it for granted. There’s no easy G1s.”

The trainer said Eduardo was an easy horse to keep ticking over with the month between the T.J. Smith and Doomben 10,000.

“He will trial this Friday coming, Nash (Rawiller) will be back in the saddle and really looking forward to the 10,000. I think Doomben will suit him down to the ground.”



WHAT do we make of the return run of TREKKING in the Victory Stakes?

The Godolphin gelding ambled up to FASIKA at the 300m point and looked set to go on and post another victory.

But he started to feel the pinch soon after and in the end, wound up fifth, with Fasika fighting back to nudge him out of fourth prize.

No doubt he will take good improvement from the run, but he’s become a costly horse for punters in recent times, now being rolled in three consecutive starts as favourite.

The Kingsford Smith (May 29) looks his best chance of winning a G1 during the carnival and given it’s four weeks away, he’s going to strip a lot fitter for that assignment.

But there’s also little doubt that race will be considerably stronger than what he faced on Saturday.


Check out the latest TAB markets here.



THE Victory proved a triumph for local horses, with the ever-consistent NICCANOVA picking up another feature race for owner-breeder-trainer Steve Tregea.

Jockey Jimmy Orman put himself through torture 12 months ago to ride the horse at 53kg (he ended up riding him a half kilo over) in the Stradbroke and is prepared to do the same again this year.

Naturally he’s hoping the G2 success on Saturday means he won’t have to shed as much this time around.

Glen Boss said VEGA ONE just peaked on his run at what was only his second start in 11 months in the Victory.

Boss said he always had the runners he was chasing covered, but at the same time he was worried about something coming from behind him and it was Niccanova right up on the inside that spoiled the party.

Vega One is certainly progressing the right way towards the Stradbroke.

Connections of both Vega One and Niccanova felt they had hard luck stories to tell after last year’s Stradbroke.



AUSTRALASIAN Oaks winner MEDIA AWARD could press on to the Queensland Oaks (2200m) on June 5.

Trainer Chris Calthorpe said the G1 race is definitely under consideration for the Shamus Award filly, who drifted to $61 before winning at Morphettville on Saturday.

“I’m not sure we’ve got to the bottom of her yet,” Calthorpe said.

“2000m to 2200m seems to be her ideal trip. The Oaks being at Eagle Farm and run over 2200m could be a good stepping-stone for her in the next month if we were to proceed and go forward. Egg Tart did the double in 2017, a year when the Oaks was run over 2200m at Doomben.’’



SATURDAY’S Listed Dalrello winner MISS HIPSTAR has been a pleasant surprise for both trainer Kelly Schweida and jockey Larry Cassidy.

Cassidy thought Miss Hipstar would need a whole lot of time to mature after his first ride on the filly in a morning gallop.

He describes her as one of the laziest fillies he’s ever ridden in trackwork.

Schweida concurred that she’s “hopeless” when it comes to putting in of a morning.

So it was a pleasant surprise to both when she jumped out so brilliantly out of the barriers the first time she was asked.

Soon after, Miss Hipstar won on debut over 1110m from a wide gate and Cassidy had come around to being a big fan of the filly.

Her Magic Millions tilt was thwarted by wide barriers and again it looked problematical on paper on Saturday, but Cassidy managed to get her into a one-off trailing position behind the leaders.

Schweida is logically hoping the daughter of STAR TURN will run 1400m and a mile given there’s two races worth $1Million over those distances in the next six weeks in Brisbane.

The pivotal race will be the Spirit Of Boom Classic (former Champagne Classic) at Doomben in a fortnight over 1200m.

Miss Hipstar looked in deep trouble when ASHEMA cruised up to her at the 200m point, but she fought off that challenge and then had enough in reserve to hold a margin over STELLAR MAGIC right on the line.

Ashema was unwanted in betting and she ran true to form again. So often in Sydney she has loomed to win races, but just failed to finish off.

She cruised up easily to her rivals again in this race, but the run was short-lived and it soon became apparent she would have to settle for another minor end of the prize.


Check out the latest TAB Futures markets here.



JOCKEYS could hardly recall running in a bigger downpour than the one which greeted them in the three-year-old quality (1300m) on Saturday.

Chief Steward Peter Chadwick later told them he would not have permitted them to go out had the rain been as heavy when they left the mounting yard.

In the end, GEORGIE’S PRIDE was able to fight back and beat MASS DESTRUCTION, giving trainer Desleigh Forster a nice birthday present (APACHE CASE would have made it even better had he held on the Guineas).

Following this race, Chadwick called riders into the Stewards room and told them they would play it by ear as the day progressed.

Fortunately the rain eased and the program was able to continue.



BRETT Cavanough poured a little cold water on big race aspirations for FENDER this carnival after he prevailed in the match-race against GARIBALDI on Saturday.

While Fender will not likely progress to stakes grade, Cavanough said there’s no rush with the four-year-old, who could easily return in 12 months’ time to have a shot at those better races.

Garibaldi on the other hand now faces a tough time getting into the races Tony Gollan was keen to target.

He will need to win a ballot free race in order to gain a Stradbroke start, but it might be just as tough making it into one of those ballot free races.

The logical target is the G3 BRC Sprint, but a capacity field would likely see Garibaldi right down the bottom of the order of entry given his current official handicap rating.

That said, he should have lost no admirers after his effort to get so close to Fender after going back from the wide gate and then striking some traffic rounding the turn.



NOMINATIONS for all of the Brisbane Racing Club’s G1 races are due on Tuesday.

Stradbroke weights are then due on May 24, which is obviously after the Doomben 10,000, but before the Kingsford Smith Cup – the latter being a race that offers exemption from the ballot for the $1.5Million Stradbroke.


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.

The Ex Factor (Monday edition) will revert to Weighing In with Nathan Exelby from next Monday for the duration of the Winter Carnival.

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