QUEANBEYAN’S Joe Cleary will be taking on the “cream of the crop” of Australian trainers on Saturday when two-year-old Quietly Brilliant lines up in the $100,000 Golden Gift (1100m) at Rosehill.
Leading trainers Gai Waterhouse, David Hayes, Peter Moody and Peter Snowden have all accepted for the race which will mark Quietly Brilliant’s Sydney debut.
Quietly Brilliant announced himself in November after winning by seven lengths in his first run at Canberra and setting a class record time in the process.
Cleary has high hopes the gelding could prove his stable’s first metropolitan winner in years.
But first he’ll have to go up against some of the biggest names in the business when he takes the son of Alert up the Federal Highway to challenge for this weekend’s Gift.
“It’s the cream of the crop but if we want to find out how good he is we’ve got to take them on,” Cleary said of the Gift field.
“I’m not scared of a challenge and if I get my arse kicked, I’ll just jump back in the car and head home. But [Quietly Brilliant] hasn’t put a foot wrong since Canberra so we’re going up there with no excuses.
“If they’re too good for him, so be it and we’ll come back to the bush but all I know is he’s telling me he’s ready to go to the races.”
Complicating matters, Quietly Brilliant has drawn barrier 12 for the race leaving Cleary with little choice but to trust in the Black Opal hopeful to “go early” and hold on.
“The barrier’s not great but that’s the way the cards are dealt and we’ll find out how quick he is, there’s no denying that,” Cleary said.
“He’s got plenty of early speed so he’ll definitely go early and then [jockey] Nick [Souquet] will just have to see how it unfolds and take it from there.”
Regardless of the result, Cleary said Quietly Brilliant will be sent to the paddock following Saturday’s race before returning to the track in February in the lead up to the Black Opal.