Bonnie Palise with Dom To Shoot after his win in the Northerly Stakes. Picture: Anita McInnes

Bullsbrook stablemates in Ascot Gold Rush

After a win in the Northerly, Bullsbrook's galloper Dom To Shoot is starting Damien Oliver Gold Rush at Ascot.
December 14, 2023
Anita McInnes

BULLSBROOK trainer Sean Casey says he is leaning towards Dom To Shoot out of his two runners in the Damien Oliver Gold Rush (1400m) on Saturday at Ascot.

Dom To Shoot has had a remarkable year – he fell in the 2023 Perth Cup while trying to avoid another horse, which had fallen and had to be euthanised, then after extensive vet checks he raced in a re-run of the cup 14 days later and less than a week ago he won his first Group 1.

Casey said winning the Northerly Stakes (1800m) was a big thrill and Dom To Shoot, who weighs about 570kg, was a beautiful big horse and great to work with.

The six-year-old gelding will have to backup seven days after his Group 1 win and has drawn barrier 14 – but that is likely to reduce on race day unless one or more of the emergencies get a start.

Casey, who co-trains with his son Jake, said the horse had successfully backed up before, was also very fit and the Gold Rush was a shorter race than the Northerly.

He didn’t think the barrier draw was bad.

“Usually I say wide barriers are good for him but because he won from barrier one the other day he tricked us a bit,’’ he laughed.

Although saying there is not a lot between the stablemates Casey has a soft spot for Dom To Shoot and his happy nature.

“The fall he had in the Perth Cup was horrific to watch and for him to bounce back up after that – even some of the best horsemen I’ve known told me he won’t come back but he shrugged it off and just kept fighting.

“He’s a really happy horse who loves his carrots and his work.

“He’s a real individual and gets about his work and he’s got superior talent.’’

This week Dom To Shoot has just been doing slow work at home and going over the practise jumps just to keep him fresh.

Bonnie Palise, who is engaged to Jake, does most of the work with Dom To Shoot.

If he wins the Gold Rush it will be his first win at 1400m but Laverrod has already won at that distance.

“He has Laverrod (who is a very good horse) in the barrier beside him – they’ve got barrier 13 and 14 so it’s the two boys from Bullsbrook jumping out together.’’

Jockey Jarrad Noske has retained the ride on Dom To Shoot but there is some uncertainty about eastern states jockey Craig Williams being available to partner Laverrod depending on whether Super Smink gets a start.

“If there’s two scratchings in the race before 8am on Saturday that’ll make Super Smink available to race in the Gold Rush.

“It doesn’t seem likely but if it does we’ll have to search for a rider at 8 o’clock on Saturday morning.

“Being such a big race you wouldn’t expect two scratchings in such a short time.

“I wouldn’t like to think that two horses had to come out as everyone is pretty pumped up for the race.”

Casey has a lot of respect for Valour Road, who he thinks will be one of the hardest to beat on Saturday, along with Bustler who he thought was going to be better suited to 1400m than the 1800m of the Northerly.

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