Torvill leads Clarry’s charge for more winter glory
A QUARTER of a century on from his first Queensland Group 1 success, Sydney trainer Clarry Conners still loves coming back to the Sunshine State.
And he is happy to have another legitimate carnival contender in the shape of Gold Coast Bracelet favourite Torvill at Doomben on Saturday.
Conners has won five Group 1 races in Queensland, dating back to Air Seattle's 1993 Queensland Derby. Since then he has won the Oaks twice (Zagalia and Allow) and two JJ Atkins' (Mossman and Apercu), plus a host of other features, the most recent being Look To The Stars' 2015 Sires Produce.
"I love coming up to Queensland. I've had a lot of luck," Conners said.
"Besides the weather being nice, people are very friendly. It's good to go where you are welcome.
"I used to have 50 in work, but I only have 25 these days. It's very hard to compete against these big stables. I still enjoy it, as long as you've got good horses. You don't enjoy it if you've got bad horses, I promise you."
Torvill has been outstanding this autumn, narrowly going down in the Group 1 Surround and finishing close up in a other features.
Conners has two grand final options for the Not A Single Doubt filly this winter.
"If she runs as I expect her to, she will run next in the Roses and if everything goes right there, she will run in the Oaks," Conners said.
"If we don't think she will go the Oaks distance - which is only 2200m this year - I will drop her back to the mile (1600m) of the Queensland Guineas."
Torvill will jump from the outside gate, which isn't ideal, but at least she won't be bottled away inside horses on Saturday.
"She wants to get clear running. She's a very long-striding filly," Conners said.
"Where she's going to be in the first half of the race is the big concern, but from then I won't be worried if she's out a bit wide because she races better there than locked up on the fence.
"She developed this time in. She's a lovely big strong filly now. She's come a long way. Time's a great thing with some of these horses. If you look after them, they come good for you."