Eagle Farm Wrap-Up - XXXX Queensland Cup Raceday

THE Brisbane Spring Carnival got off to a flying start at Eagle Farm on Saturday with Apache Chase franking his Golden Eagle credentials and Honorable Spirit landing a tough win in the Listed XXXX Queensland Cup.

Spring takes on a different air in Brisbane this year, with local racegoers unable to travel interstate to the big Group 1 fixtures in Sydney and Melbourne.

As a result, Eagle Farm and Doomben are the best places to watch the interstate big race action, while at the same time seeing the best the locals have to offer.

Eagle Farm had a real carnival atmosphere on Saturday, with the Nova 106.9 Spring Garden Party, the Spring Social in the lower Squires Perch and the Nudgee Old Boys function in the Guineas room.

And it was a day that belonged to Desleigh Forster and Jim Byrne, who had a winning treble.

Apache Chase was well-backed to win the $125,000 Nudgee Old Boys Cup (1400m) and under a cool Byrne ride, he proved too good for the second favourite Emerald Kingdom.

Both horses are now headed south, with Forster plotting a path to the $7.5M Golden Eagle at the end of the month for Apache Chase and Emerald Kingdom heading to the Filante Stakes in a fortnight.

Exo Lady was the first of the Forster-Byrne winners, making a winning debut in the Lexus 2YO Fillies Plate (1000m). The Forster-Byrne treble was rounded out when Boom Spender led throughout to win the final event on the card.

Honorable Spirit, prepared by John Smerdon, has been a revelation this preparation, with this being the 13th run of the campaign, dating back to April. The XXXX Queensland Cup (Listed, 2406m) was his fifth win in his past eight starts and gave leading apprentice Jaden Lloyd a welcome feature race success.

The other highlight on the card was the running of the Widden Basil Nolan Jr. 2YO C&G Plate (1000m), where Palazzo Spirit notched a narrow debut win for jockey Baylee Nothdurft and trainers Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted in the prominent green and black colours of Jamie Walter’s Proven Thoroughbreds.

The Nolan family were at Eagle Farm for the race, with son Basil telling BRC TV it was humbling to have a race named after his late father, who passed away tragically in 2018.

“If my dad were here today he would be very proud and honoured. It’s an incredibly nice gesture by the BRC and also Widden,” Nolan said.

He said the win by Heroic Son at Doomben last week was very special, given he is by the family’s Raheen Stud’s first season sire Heroic Valour.

“Dad fell in love with (Heroic Valour) and it was like a project for him. It was something that was very emotional for all the family, they very much enjoyed it,” he said.