Young trainer after biggest win
Ben Currie is not well known in his home state let alone in Victoria where he hopes to become the latest Queensland success story.
Currie, 19, has only been training for 12 months and will get the biggest kick of his short career if Rothera wins the Group Three Betfair Stakes (1400m) on Caulfield Cup day.
“It’s a good race on paper and it would be an unbelievable thrill to win a Group Three race on Caulfield Cup day,” Currie said.
However, the Betfair Stakes is only a dress rehearsal for the gelding’s main mission in the Group One Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on November 6.
Currie is studying for a journalism degree at the University of Southern Queensland at Toowoomba and has 10 horses in training.
He made his own headlines when Rothera gave him his first black-type success by winning the Listed Member’s Handicap (1600m) at Eagle Farm in April.
Rothera was being prepared for the Group One Epsom Handicap at Randwick earlier this month but a setback caused him to miss the Sydney trip.
“I was going to take him to Sydney and follow the same path as Captain Sonador in the Bill Ritchie and Epsom Handicap but he got a virus which went through my stable,” Currie said.
Captain Sonador became the first Queenslander to win the Epsom Handicap since Kinjite was successful in 1992.
Rothera showed he had taken no harm from the virus when he scored a stunning first-up win over 1200 metres at Doomben on September 25.
Queensland horses are making their marks in the south this spring following Captain Sonador’s Epsom triumph as well as victories from Shoot Out, Buffering and Drenalin in Sydney and Melbourne while Woorim and Poor Judge have been placed at Group One level.
Currie spoke to Captain Sonador’s trainer Roger Milne and Norm Hilton who prepares Poor Judge about sending Rothera to campaign in Melbourne.
“I’ve spoken to both of them as they’re both stabled at Caulfield where I am,” Currie said.
“They only decided to have a go interstate after they saw how good our Queensland horses like Shoot Out, Woorim, Drenalin and Buffering have been going.”
Currie is hoping the forecast for a wet Caulfield Cup day eventuates for Rothera.
“Any rain would be really good for him. He loves the wet and has won twice on a heavy track,” he said.
“I also nominated him for the Caulfield Sprint on Saturday but it was only a precaution in case he never got a run in the Betfair Stakes.”
Former champion Queensland apprentice Brent Evans will return to Melbourne to ride Rothera in the Betfair Stakes.
Evans is slowly rebuilding his career in Brisbane after returning a positive drug test while riding for 12 months for Victorian trainer Michael Kent.