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  • Provincial Racing NSW


PROVINCIAL-MIDWAY Championships Final winner Territory Express will have a new rider for his Brisbane winter carnival campaign opener.

But his PMC Final winning jockey, leading apprentice Zac Lloyd, will be back on the talented four-year-old in the $1m Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 25.

Trainer Paul Niceforo left Sydney on Monday morning with his gelding - and first stop is Coffs Harbour.

“We’ll break up the trip by stopping at Coffs overnight, and then head on to Brisbane on Tuesday,” he said.

“Territory Express will be based at Eagle Farm, and we’ve been lucky to get stabling there as boxes are very limited with so many interstate and New Zealand horses heading to Brisbane for the carnival.”

Niceforo has scheduled the Listed Members’ Handicap (1600m), to be run under Quality conditions, at Doomben on Saturday week for the gelding’s Brisbane debut.

“Zac isn’t available as he is required by Godolphin for the Scone carnival,” Niceforo explained.

“More than likely Robbie Dolan will be the rider, but Zac will definitely be back on him when he backs up a week later in the Doomben Cup.”

Dolan has ridden the gelding once previously 12 months ago at Rosehill Gardens in a 3YO Benchmark 72 Handicap at his first attempt at 2000m - and the run can be best be forgotten.

When Territory Express drew wide and over-raced, Dolan took him to the front and not surprisingly the gelding weakened after bolting away to a big lead in an uncustomary position as front-runner.

Territory Express hasn’t raced since brilliantly winning the Provincial-Midway Final at Royal Randwick on April 13, lifting his record to four wins and as many placings from 14 starts for earnings of just over $872,000.

Lloyd, who rode a treble (including a dead-heat) at Hawkesbury’s Cup Day meeting last Saturday, should be unbeaten on Territory Express.

He won the opening PMC Qualifier (1400m) at Kembla Grange on February 29 on him, then was unluckily and narrowly beaten by Democracy Manifest in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 16 before storming home to take the Final.

Niceforo has also nominated the gelding for the $3m Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 15 as a precautionary measure.

But he is looking much further ahead to the spring, with the $5m Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley in late October his primary goal.

“As the Doomben Cup, like the Cox Plate, is run at weight-for-age, that will give us a good guide to Melbourne,” Niceforo said.

“However, I won’t mind at all if things don’t work out and Territory Express doesn’t even race in Brisbane. He can winter there and that will set him up nicely for the spring.”

Story John Curtis, May 6, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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