Ross can’t split his Open Handicap chances

mishani hustler
Mishani Hustler and stablemate River Racer will clash in the open handicap at the Sunshine Coast.

Trainer Les Ross does not believe there is much betwen Mishani Hustler and River Racer as they step up their winter campaigns in the same race.

Mishani Hustler and River Racer take on a quality field of winter carnival hopefuls in Saturday’s Henzells Open Handicap (1000m) at the Sunshine Coast.

While Mishani Hustler is among the favourites for the race, River Racer is at double figures but Ross believes they should be closer.

The pair resumed two weeks ago with Mishani Hustler winning and River Racer running fifth in an open handicap at Doomben.

“I said before that race there was nothing between and luck would tell the tale,” Ross.

“As it turned out Mishani Hustler got a good run in front and River Racer had no luck.

“There was only a length between them at the finish. Luck will probably make the difference again. It is a good race on Saturday and it will give us an idea where we are for the winter.”

Mishani Hustler and River Racer are likely to follow the same path in the Group Three BRC Sprint (May 9), Group Two Victory Stakes (May 23) and Group One Stradbroke Handicap (June 6).

“Really there isn ‘t much else for them the way the winter has turned out,” Ross said.

“I am glad we are still racing and able to get a go at some feature races.”

The Queensland winter carnival has been revised because of the coronavirus pandemic with just the Stradbroke Handicap and J J Atkins for two-year-olds saved as Group One races.

Mishani Hustler was originally trained by Ben Currie but when he was stood down Ross had the gelding for last winter.

Since then Mishani Hustler has had stints with Richard Laming and Mark Currie before coming back to Ross.

“I was impressed with him last time I had him and he has impressed me again,” Ross said.

“And you know what you will get with River Racer. She always tries hard.”

Ross has a third runner in the Open Handicap, Defence Missile who is dropping back to 1000m after failing at 1400m at his last start.

“This distance suits him better and I have booked Maddy Wishart who will claim three kilos,” he said.

Ross is having a good season and his horses have won more than $200,000 in QTIS bonus payments alone.

“Apparently I am leading the statewide QTIS premiership. But I will have an even better season next year,” Ross said.

“I have 30 yearlings who look like being really nice two-year-olds next season.”

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