Veteran stayer Pop ‘N’ Scotch will need a drying track to help him improve on a run of four minor placings in the Queen’s Cup Trophy.
It is Queensland’s turn to host the Group Three Queens’ Cup (3200m) which will double as the Queensland Cup at Caloundra this year.
Trainer Liam Birchley has taken the seven-year-old slowly in the build-up to the Cup with the gelding running 11th in the Caloundra Cup.
“You don’t need to do much with him and he likes his runs well spaced as is the case again this year,” he said.
“I hope the wet weather goes away. He really needs a dry track.”
Pop ‘N’ Scotch has run second in the race three times – behind Iggy Pop (2014), Mister Impatience (2015) and Murphy’s Delight (2016) – and third last year behind Araldo Junior and My Diamantine.
Caloundra has had steady rain in the past month with the track on the soft side for most of its meetings.
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“He is a genuine 3200-metre horse and I would love for him to win the Cup,” Birchley said.
“As a three-year-old when John Thompson had him he ran second and then I had him when the Cup was run for the first time at Caloundra and he was run down on the line. Then he was brave again when second the next year and it was the same last year.”
Pop ‘N’ Scotch is a seasoned traveller having run in Queensland, Victoria, NSW. South Australia and New Zealand in recent years.
Birchley believes one of his best runs was in last year’s Wellington Cup (3200m) when Pop ‘N’ Scotch was beaten three lengths into eighth place.
There were 12 nominations taken on Monday for the endurance test, one of a handful of races left in Australia over the Melbourne Cup distance.
Among them is last-start 3200m-winner Plot Twist who was successful in the Stayers Cup at Rosehill on June 9 for trainers Peter and Paul Snowden.
The Kris Lees-trained Doukhan, second in that race, has since run fourth in the Winter Cup at Rosehill.