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Thu 20 May 2021

By Glenn Davis

The Stradbroke dream is still alive for trainer Brett Cavanough despite Fender’s horror barrier in the TAB BRC Sprint at Doomben on Saturday.

Fender was a brilliant winner over local hope Garibaldi in a Class 6 race at Eagle Farm on May 1, and needs to win the Group 3 feature to be assured of a start in the Stradbroke Handicap.

The winner of the BRC Sprint is exempt from a ballot for the $1.5 million Group 1 feature at Eagle Farm on June 12.

Fender - a Michael Cahill mount - drew wide in barrier 14 while Queensland’s best hope Garibaldi will jump from five.

The pair fought out a close finish last start with Fender getting the upper hand with a late finishing rush.

“I’m not worried by the draw as he’ll come into 12,” Cavanough said.

“He sat three deep to win last start and he’s not a one trick pony.

“He’s very adaptable and if this was a Group 1 race you’d be running.”

Cavanough is based at Scone in the NSW Hunter Valley and left his stable by float early Thursday morning for the eight-hour trip.

“He’s been to Brisbane twice and I’ve travelled him up and back each time,” he said.

“I could easily have kept him up there but I’m happy with the track he gets to work on down here.”

Cavanough is chasing his second BRC Sprint after winning with Helideck in 2007.

“Helideck was a good horse who won three straight including the Prime Minister’s Cup and this race,” Cavanough said.

“After he won this race he ran last in the Stradbroke on a wet track but he should never have run in it.

“Fender is as good as any sprinter I’ve trained.”

Cavanough isn’t concerned with a three-week break between runs for the four-year-old, who has won six of his nine starts.

“He doesn’t have to have breaks between runs – it’s just how things worked out as I worked backwards from the Stradbroke when I planned his campaign,” he said.

“If he gets to the Stradbroke, he’ll get around 50kgs but we’ve haven’t got a rider yet and Michael (Cahill) can’t make that weight.”

Cavanough has been training for about 25 years after spending much of his youth growing up at Charleville and Roma in south-west Queensland.

A former shearer, Cavanough once held the world record of shearing 427 sheep in an eight-hour period.