Kiwi Stayer Takes On Queensland Double

Kiwi trainer Howie Mathews says topweight Sampson is in first-class order for Saturday’s Listed Ipswich Cup but admits he has his eye on an even bigger prize seven days later.

Mathews, who is planning a permanent move to Queensland, is using the Ipswich Cup (2150m) as a springboard to Saturday week’s G3 Tattersall’s Cup over its new distance of 1 7⁄8 m at Eagle Farm.

“If we get a bit of rain between now and then that’s when he’s got a really big chance - up over 1 7⁄8 m and back to Eagle Farm,” Mathews said.

“He’s going to measure He’s getting better and better physically as well as in his overall well-being.”

Sampson, a G2 winner in NZ and based at Eagle Farm with trainer Desleigh Forster, raced twice in Victoria before switching to Queensland.

The 9YO veteran was fourth at Flemington and seventh in the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m) before a luckless first-up Brisbane run in the PJ O’Shea Stakes (2200m) at Doomben.

“He went a huge race at Flemington. He hadn’t had a run for five weeks and needed it,” Mathews said.

“We backed him up seven days later in the Warrnambool Cup and it was a terrific run to finish two lengths from the winner.

“We were very pleased and it gave us the encouragement to put him on a truck and come north.”

Sampson, raced Mathews’ wife Lorraine and her friend Janice Street, has drawn the outside barrier of 11 in the Ipswich Cup for rider Mark Du Plessis.

“I’ve told Mark to let him roll along and run his own race,” Mathews said.

“His work has been fantastic. If he can roll along and relax he can run a really big race.”

Mathews revealed he has plans to make a permanent shift to Queensland.

“This is my semi-retirement. I’ve wound things down in Otaki and I’d love to stay here,” he said.

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