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Lion-Hearted King Ready to Fire in Northern Jewel
Leading trainer Olivia Cairns has paid her pony-sized marvel Fire King the ultimate compliment going into the $105,000 Audi Centre Townsville Northern Jewel QTIS 3YO (1300m) at Cluden Park tomorrow.
Cairns, who has won Cups and major sprints from Rockhampton to Cairns, rates Fire King as the bravest young horse she has trained since the brilliant Sea Zulu almost 15 years ago.
“Fire King is just a little horse but he’s all heart,” Cairns said.
“He’s done plenty of racing and carried plenty of big weights and he’s raced with the best of his age from Rocky all the way up to Cairns.
“I put him up there with Sea Zulu, who won a Cleveland Bay Hcp as a three-year-old and won it again the following year.
“He’s so small but he has the same will to win. They don’t do what he’s done unless they have that will to win.
“Plenty of small horses have won big races.”
Fire King, a half-brother to the smart Last Chance, goes into tomorrow’s feature with six wins and 15 placings from 24 starts and just shy of $200,000 in prizemoney.
He rounded out his preparation for the big race with a cracking last start win on his home track in Mackay on May 10.
But the Worthy Cause gelding has paid the price for consistency with big weights throughout his career.
Fire King will carry top weight with 61kg with two of his biggest dangers, the Rockhampton-trained Isis Carmella and Palencia.
Yes Dream, unbeaten in four starts, will carry 58.5kg
Cairns sees a positive though, meeting both Isis Carmella and Palencia on equal weight terms.
“Our fella has gone close to beating them both, giving them weight,” Cairns said.
“What I like about tomorrow is that we will be level pegging on weights with two of the hardest horses to beat.
“Isis Carmella has always had the pull in weights on him and when he’s been beaten he hasn’t been far away. And I think the 3yo form in Rocky has been a bit stronger.
“He (Fire King) also ran Palencia to a nose in Townsville giving him 3kg so things come back a bit in our favor.”
The Kevin Miller-trained Isis Carmella, who has a good fresh record (2: 1-1) will go into the Jewel first-up on the back of two barrier trials.
Isis Carmella has won six of her 10 starts including a dominant win as a two-year-old at Cluden beating Fire King in August last year.
Yes Dream and last season’s top two-year-old Palencia go into the race in peak form and meet again after their epic clash in April when a nose separated them.
Trainer Michael Lee has gambled with a month between runs for Yes Dream to avoid more weight.
“He’s fit and fresh and I’m very happy with him. It’s the toughest field he’s met and there’s a little question mark with the 1300m, but he’s a versatile horse and I’m confident he’ll run well.”
Yes Dream will again be ridden by Townsville premiership leader Lacey Morrison who has guided the Dream Ahead gelding to all four of his wins.
But the topweights will have their challengers among the light weights.
Lord Of Light, Guapo, and Valley Rattler - who finished third, fourth and fifth to Palencia and Fire King last start on May 6 - and Tilley’s Secret will carry just 54kg.
The Jewel meeting has attracted a bumper nine-race card, which will also feature the unbeaten Missile Thunder in the Lawrence and Hanson 2YO Classic Prelude over (1200m).
A number of leading carnival sprint contenders will also do battle in the Willows Pool Shop Open Hcp (1200m).
Pictured: Pint-sized Fire King (outside) lumps a big weight to a courageous second to Palencia at Cluden last month.
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