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Guthmann-Chester on track for successive Eye Liner triumphs

Thu 17 June 2021

By Glenn Davis

Trainer Michael Costa has overlooked Axe’s horror barrier to give jockey Jag Guthman-Chester the chance for successive Eye Liner Stakes triumphs at Ipswich on Saturday.

Axe was also an acceptor in the Class 6 Plate over 1200 metres drawing barrier nine, while he drew barrier 13 in the Listed 1350-metre Eye Liner Stakes.

Guthmann-Chester – who was crowned the state’s champion apprentice three seasons ago - landed his biggest career win aboard the Kelly Purdy-trained Bandipur in last year’s Eye Liner Stakes.

If he wins aboard Axe, he will be in rare company as only two other jockeys – Gavan Duffy and Gary Willetts - have won back-to-back Eye Liner Stakes since it was first run in 1971.

Duffy won the famous Ipswich sprint aboard Atropine (1982) and So Dandy (1983) while Willetts equalled the feat with dual wins on Final Affair in 1984-85.

Guthmann-Chester grew up at the Gold Coast but since breaking into the senior ranks has struggled for rides in the metropolitan area and rides mostly at the Gold Coast and in the Northern Rivers.

He has had a successful association with the Costa stable since the former New South Welshman moved to the Gold Coast five years ago.

“If Axe gets the right run, he’ll run a hell of a race,” Costa said.

“I would have like a better draw than 13 but it is what it is.

“Jag has been one of our go-to jockeys ever since I moved to the Gold Coast and I’d love to see him win.

“It’s a lot tougher draw than when he got the rails run to win the Eye Liner last year.”

Costa has a team of 44 horses in work and has been in sensational form in recent weeks training 21 winners, including Seentoomany at Randwick last Saturday, from his past 50 starters.

He trained half the program with four winners at the Gold Coast on June 5.

Axe was given a freshen up following his last start third to the Rob Heathcote-trained Emerald Kingdom in the Group 3 BRC Sprint at Doomben on May 22.

The four-year-old was previously trained by Bjorn Baker in Sydney and has won four of his seven starts since transferring to Costa.

“His form stacks up well after being beaten by Emerald Kingdom and Tofane in the BRC Sprint,” Costa said.

“Tofane won the Stradbroke last week and Emerald Kingdom wasn’t far behind her.

“He’s done really well since his last run so hopefully he can win the Eye Liner with our first runner in the race.”