Fifteen Carat to chase winter riches

Howard Wilson has finally hoisted the white flag on Fifteen Carat’s bid for next month’s Group One Epsom Handicap at Randwick.

The Gold Coast trainer had planned to give Fifteen Carat, who tackles Saturday’s Kartaway Mini Skips Handicap (1350m) at Doomben, two starts in Brisbane before heading to Sydney for the 1600-metre feature on October 2.

However, Wilson’s Epsom dreams are in disarray after he was forced to scratch the four-year-old from two crucial lead-up runs at Eagle Farm.

“He took some skin off and had some bruising on his hip when he got cast in his box the first time I had to scratch him,” Wilson said.

“He had just got over that and was ready to run again when he came down with an elevated temperature.

“He’s had a bad trot and the Epsom is off now.”

Glen Colless has been booked to partner Fifteen Carat who hasn’t started since winning the Listed Tatt’s Mile (1600m) at Eagle Farm on July 24.

At his previous start, Fifteen Carat won the Listed Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m) at Caloundra on July 3 which followed his third to the Gerald Ryan-trained Rothesay in the Group Two Queensland Guineas (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 12.

Fifteen Carat is part-owned by Melissa Jackson, the partner of Stathi Katsidis who is in Sydney to ride Captain Sonador in the Group Two Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.

Fifteen Carat was Queensland’s last hope for the famous Randwick mile.

Fellow Gold Coast trainer Trevor Whittington also scrapped Epsom plans with Femina Fashion after the mare contracted a virus while the Brian Smith-trained Meet George has had a setback.

Wilson will now turn his attention to next year’s Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm with Fifteen Carat.

“I’ve run out of time to get him fit enough for the Epsom but it was probably a waste of time going down if they decide to run More Joyous in the Epsom,” he said.

“I’m disappointed and I’ll probably give him a couple of runs here and then spell him to prepare for the winter.

“The Stradbroke would be the perfect race for him.”

Wilson is confident Fifteen Carat has made a full recovery but would have preferred him to be racing at Eagle Farm than Doomben.

Fifteen Carat is yet to win at Doomben with a solitary placing his best effort in five attempts.

“He’ll go okay but I would have preferred him at Eagle Farm,” Wilson said.