Blue army turns to Browne in pursuit of Victory
GODOLPHIN'S Queensland go-to man Damian Browne is poised to land himself a third Victory Stakes when he pilots last year's Stradbroke winner Impending at Doomben on Saturday.
Browne won the Victory Stakes on Buffering in 2013 and Srikandi two years later.
He first struck up an association with Sheikh Mohammed's Australian operation when Peter Snowden was head trainer.
Snowden liked using Browne on his Queensland runners and it led to the jockey landing the ride on Earthquake when she won the 2014 Blue Diamond Stakes.
Browne didn't receive as many opportunities when John O'Shea took the reins at Godolphin, but the arrival of James Cummings has opened the doors again.
He won on Old North for Godolphin at Doomben in February.
"I won on Good Standing for James last year at the carnival, so it was quite good him getting that job," Browne said.
"It's been good. I did a bit of riding for them when I went down to Sydney to ride for the Snowdens when most of the boys were in Melbourne for the spring carnival. Fortunately enough, I've ridden for them when they've sent the odd one up and having a bit of luck.
"They have the quality horses. If you're able to get on them, it's a big advantage."
Impending has raced only twice since the Stradbroke, running second to In Her Time in the Everest consolation at Randwick, before he was third to Redzel in the Darley Classic last November.
He trialled at Warwick Farm on April 9 and didn't have much room in the straight, but he ran through the line stylishly. He has since been given an exhibition gallop at Randwick last Saturday.
"By all reports, he looks to be going very well," Browne said. "He's probably the class horse of the race and he's a good one to be getting on."
The Victory Stakes has proven to be a picnic for punters over the past decade, with favourites winning eight of the past nine.
Cummings said Impending "really looks set and ready to go first up" on Saturday.
"I think this is a really nice introduction to his preparation which is going to hold plenty of promise for the stable with a horse like him who has a little bit left to do before he retires to the breeding barn," he said.
Browne's book on Saturday also includes Villermont in the Gunsynd Classic for Srikandi's trainer Ciaron Maher.
"It's always good to get on Ciaron's horses. He normally comes up here and has a bit of success, so it's another nice ride to be getting on," Browne said. "He's won a Sandown Guineas and run fourth in the Australian Guineas, so that sort of form should be pretty good for up here."
Apprentice banned for four weeks
QUEENSLAND apprentice Zoe White has been suspended for a month after returning a positive urine sample to a banned appetite suppressant.
Rockhampton-based White was the most successful apprentice In Queensland last season and transferred to premier trainer Tony Gollan last year.
She later went to Billy and Dale Healy at the Sunshine Coast but struggled for rides leading to her returning to central Queensland last month.
Stewards charged her with returning a positive in a urine sample taken at Mackay races on March 27. She returned a positive to Phentermine which is listed as a banned anorectic substance and is often used in diet pills.
White pleaded guilty and was suspended four weeks backdated to April 13 when she voluntarily stood down.