Kovalica to relish 2024 Doomben Cup trip

The anniversary of Kovalica’s biggest success comes up in the next week and Chris Waller is hoping to celebrate the milestone with another Brisbane Group 1 win.

The four-year-old son of Ocean Park will chase his first win since last year’s Queensland Derby when he steps out in this Saturday’s $1 million Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben.

Kovalica won the 2400-metre Derby on May 27 last year but had his next seven starts between 1300m and 1600m, the best of which was a narrow second placing in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).

He finished ninth in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile early last month before getting out to 2000m in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m), in which he finished fifth, ahead of a last-start third placing in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m).

Waller is comfortable with the team’s decision to chase the big-money races for milers with Kovalica, but he is now keen to give him his chance out over a little further.

“After the Derby last year, we decided to go the shorter route and he just missed in an Epsom – he was nosed out and run second – then went to the Golden Eagle and things didn’t work out,” Waller said.

“So, he’s now back into the swing of things over 2000 metres and hopefully it’s onto The Q22 after that (Doomben Cup).

“He’s never had an issue, he’s got no soreness, he’s got no major problems, he just needs a bit of distance.”

Kovalica is pre-post favourite for the Doomben Cup from Huetor, who is chasing a third-straight win in the race, with Hollindale Stakes winner Numerian holding down the third line of betting.

The field for the Doomben Cup will be finalised after the barrier draw takes place on Tuesday morning.

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