Queensland raider set to soar in the $7.5m Golden Eagle

Saddling up a genuine chance in a $7.5 million race is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Queensland trainer Desleigh Forster and she is determined to be trackside for the experience.

To make that happen, Forster will travel to Sydney with her Golden Eagle prospect Apache Chase and stablemate Georgie’s Pride on Thursday, take them to Rosehill for their respective assignments on Saturday, then head back to Queensland to serve a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

Jockey Jim Byrne is making an even greater sacrifice, isolating at home this week in order to partner the four-year-old and like Forster, quarantining for two weeks on return.

But Forster says the chance to be part of Saturday’s Golden Eagle (1500m) makes the hard yards worthwhile.

“These are opportunities that don’t come around that often for people like me, or for Jimmy, so we’ve got to take hold of it with both hands,” Forster said.

“I’m very excited about it all. Hopefully we can just get down there and have a bit of luck and I’m sure he’ll race very well.”

Forster has worked with horses all her life and her grounding with thoroughbreds includes stints for the late Bart Cummings ‘ Brisbane stable and several years under Peter Moody.

She has prepared some handy horses, led by smart sprinter Adebisi, but Apache Chase could be her best yet.

The four-year-old has strong winter carnival form references, finishing runner-up to subsequent Epsom Handicap winner Private Eye in the Queensland Guineas and beating the highly regarded Ayrton at Group 3 level.

Forster said his campaign had come to an end when he was unplaced in the Stradbroke Handicap but he has returned in top order and is unbeaten in both runs this preparation.

“He’s definitely come back a lot bigger and a lot stronger and he’s a lot more mature now than he was before,” she said.

“Ever since he went out after his run in the Stradbroke, this has always been the target.

“He’d had a long campaign going into the winter. This time he’s nice and fresh, it’s his third-up run and I reckon that’s probably his best run.”

While many of the top fancies have outside gates, Apache Chase has drawn ideally in barrier six and is a $9 chance in an open betting race.

Forster had been in dynamic form in Brisbane with five winners from her past 11 runners, while Byrne has also been firing, booting home a treble at Doomben on Saturday before starting his isolation period.

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