Johnstone Eyes Qld Nationals Double

DARREN Johnstone is the only trainer with a shot at winning both the Qld sprint and distance finals of the Nationals at Albion Park on Thursday night.

David Brasch

11 August 2021

DARREN Johnstone is the only trainer with a shot at winning both the sprint and distance Queensland finals of the Nationals at Albion Park on Thursday night.

He will be represented by hot Distance favourite Maggie Moo Moo and stylish sprint heat winner Truthiness.

But he is already resigned to having to send Maggie Moo Moo (Fernando Bale-Stay Warm) back to Victoria to be trained in the immediate future because of a lack of staying races in Queensland.

“The fact the National Distance is a one-off race and with only six runners means the future for her up here to get consistent racing is grim,” Johnstone said.

“I will ring Robbie Britton in Victoria to see if he will take her for a while.

“I was looking at the Sydney Cup at Wentworth Park, but the Million Dollar Chase has already been canned and the Cup was to be on at the same time.”

Maggie Moo Moo has drawn the coveted rails in the Distance Final and appears to have many lengths on her rivals. Johnstone also has Blame Brendan in the race but says he struggles to get a strong 710m.

Of sprint finalist Truthiness (My Bro Fabio-Steel Rose) he is disappointed with the box five draw.

“He gets out alright and has got great track sense,” said Johnstone. “He will want to get onto the fence as soon as he can. But from box five that will be his task against some very good opposition.”

Johnstone rates the Tony Brett-trained Orchestrate as the one to beat in the sprint and he has drawn well in the two box.

“Orchestrate should get a very nice run into the race from his inside draw,” said Johnstone.

He has been high in praise of Truthiness.

“I always told his owner Kellie Waltisbuhl and her partner Ben Day he would be a good dog but it just needed a bit of time for him to become more consistent,” he added.

Truthiness has started 85 times for 24 wins and has earned $89,000.

“I wanted to put him into the Brisbane Cup series a little while ago but Kellie and Ben were not that keen to take on the Group 1 dogs,” Johnstone said.

“But for the state sprint series I felt he would be at home without a chance of earning some prizemoney if he missed the series. He deserved his chance and he then came out and won his heat.

“The dog is feeling the best he has ever done. It’s a pity he has drawn the five.”

Sydney owner, Tom Kinnear, will be hoping for a double celebration this week when his Group winning Orchestrate runs in the Sprint final.

Tom and wife Rose celebrated the birth of their first child earlier this week.