By Glenn Davis
Trainer Tony Gollan is hopeful a perfect barrier can help provide I’m A Rippa with back-to-back wins in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes at Ipswich on Saturday.
I’m A Rippa drew barrier four and is one of four Gollan runners lining up in the 1350-metre feature.
As well as I’m A Rippa, Gollan has Coldstone (barrier 5), Natch (16) and Snitch (1) chasing the $101,500 first prize.
Gollan is chasing his third victory in the Eye Liner Stakes after winning it with Alma’s Fury in 2014 before I’m A Rippa last year.
I’m A Rippa is backing-up a week after finishing in front of two runners in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
The five-year-old has backed up only once in his career with Gollan when third to Tyzone in the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben last month.
It came a week after finishing 10th, just over three lengths behind The Bostonian in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000.
“I’m not concerned with the back-up,” Gollan said.
“He ran third when he backed up in a strong Group 3 race and he’ll appreciate dropping back to this class.
“He’s been running in Group 1 races of late and he showed he’s not quite up to that grade.
“He also doesn’t like Eagle Farm that much and he’ll be much better off around Ipswich.”
The Eye Liner Stakes is regarded as a race for lightweights and Gollan isn’t ruling out the hopes of Natch and Snitch.
“Natch has got a horrible gate but he and Snitch are two emerging horses,” he said.
“They’re both in with a chance of causing an upset.”
Natch has had three starts this campaign for a win and two placings including a last start third to Redouble in the Listed Spear Chief at Doomben on June 1.
The five-year-old has started 21 times for six wins and ten placings while Snitch has started 19 times for six wins and as many placings including a last start second to Cruze in a 1400-metre Class Six at Doomben on May 25.
Meanwhile I’m A Rippa is aiming to become only the fourth horse to win successive Eye Liner Stakes since the race was first run in 1970.
The Nigel Landers-trained Rich Affair was the first to claim successive Eye Liner Stakes in 1983-84 before it was equaled and then bettered by Pittance who won three in a row from 2000-2002 for Gold Coast trainer John Morrisey.
Sydney’s Gerald Ryan also won back-to-back Eye Liner Stakes with Adnocon in 2010-11.
Racing Queensland webnews June 13