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Ringo to rock older horses at Doomben

Promising Ringo’s A Rockstar will tackle older horses at Doomben after missing a start at Caloundra when a three-year-old race was scrapped.

Ringo’s A Rockstar will be having his first start since winning three races in a row earlier this season when he lines up in Saturday’s Class 3 Plate (1200m).

The well-named gelding, who is by Drumbeats, is prepared by Brisbane’s oldest trainer Norm “Whopper” Stephens who hopes Ringo’s A Rockstar can give him a stakes win late in his career.

Stephens, 85, won the 1948 Stradbroke Handicap on Ballyvista as an apprentice jockey and has trained many winners including the 1987 STC Silver Slipper winner Ballook.

But he rates Ringo’s A Rockstar as potentially among the best horses he has trained.

Stephens’ twin sons Gary and Wayne help him with his small team which has been based at Deagon, in Brisbane’s northern beaches, for 40 years.

“Wayne is now training some of the horses but Dad wanted to keep his hand in with Ringo’s A Rockstar. He has a big opinion of the horse,” Gary Stephens said.

“Dad just wanted Ringo to have a light preparation with three runs in three-year-old races before we put him away for the Gold Coast Guineas in May.

“If he races well in the Gold Coast Guineas we would press on to some of the other better three-year-old winter carnival races.”

Stephens said the decision to abandon the three-year-old at Caloundra on Wednesday had forced his father’s hand.

“Ringo’s A Rockstar has had a trial and is ready to run. So we had to go with the Class Three Plate even though he is badly weighted against some other runners,” he said.

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