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PROVINCIAL-MIDWAY Championships Final runner-up Strait Acer is headed for a Central Queensland assignment.

Trainer Edward Cummings has confirmed his talented four-year-old will race under the Aquis Farm banner in the $775,000 The Archer (1300m) at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park on Sunday week.

“Strait Acer so far has pulled up well from last Saturday’s Final (beaten less than a length by Territory Express), and provided he continues to please will go to Rockhampton,” Cummings said on Monday night.

“We’re looking ahead to the Brisbane winter carnival, so going to the Rockhampton race en route was the allure.”

The Archer, run at weight-for-age, was introduced two years ago along similar lines to Sydney’s The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick in spring.

There are 12 slot holders, and only one place in the field remained late on Monday afternoon.

Cummings is keen for Jason Collett to ride Strait Acer, and is waiting to hear if the jockey regains fitness in time to take the mount.

Collett, who won three races in a row on the gelding earlier in the season, was to have ridden him in last Saturday’s $1m PMC Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick, but was ruled out after sustaining bruising to his left ribs in a fall at Kembla Grange races last Tuesday.

Melbourne ace Mark Zahra, who rode Strait Acer when placed in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last November, replaced him.

“Jason isn’t sure if he will be right for Rockhampton, but still has a bit of time,” Cummings said.

Not surprisingly, Strait Acer is an early favorite for The Archer, which has been won by Queensland trainers Rob Heathcote (Emerald Kingdom in 2021) and Toby and Trent Edmonds (Alpine Edge last year) in the first two runnings.

Rockhampton mare Chinny Boom, who has won eight of her 14 starts and was second favorite, has been ruled out with a throat infection following her defeat at Doomben last Saturday.

Josh Parr (Lavish Empire) and Tommy Berry (Better Get Set) also have bookings for regional Queensland’s richest race.

Meanwhile, fellow Hawkesbury trainer Marc Chevalier has nominated Torrens (56.5kg) for Saturday’s $300,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) following his withdrawal from last Saturday’s Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick when RacingNSW stewards acted on veterinary advice.

“At this stage, it’s probably doubtful we will go to Mornington,” Chevalier said.

“I spoke with Torrens’ Singapore owner on Sunday night, and we’ve got a few options.

“There are races in Brisbane including the 3200m Cup at Eagle Farm on June 15, and also the Winter Cup (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens the same day.”

Chevalier says it will take a while to get over his horse’s omission from the Sydney Cup; the third year in a row he has been unable to compete for various reasons.

He had a suspensory problem in 2022, and pulled a muscle on a heavy track last year in the lead-up (Group 2 Chairman’s Quality) a week earlier.

“Our stable vet has looked after Torrens for many years, even with his previous trainer Lauri Parker, and backed up my view that he was ready to run in the Cup,” he said.

“It was very disappointing indeed.”

Story John Curtis, April 15, 2024

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