Two exciting new arrivals on the Queensland racing scene along with a stable warrior have emerged as genuine contenders for this month’s King Of The Mountain showdown.
The inaugural Mort & Co King Of The Mountain will be decided at Clifford Park on New Year’s Eve when 12 of Queensland’s leading eligible sprinters race for a $750,000 purse.
Confirmed starters to date include Group One winner Apache Chase, boom Toowoomba three-year-old Steady Ready and Alpine Edge.
Toowoomba’s King Of The Mountain prospects swelled this week when Clifford Park trainer Josh King confirmed stablemates Niccanova and Argyle Lane had been snapped up by slot holders and are now looking to continue King’s impressive entry into Queensland training ranks.
King swapped his jockey silks five months ago for a training position with prominent Queensland owner and breeder Steve Tregea and has met with immediate success.
Tregea races both Niccanova, who he previously trained, and Argyle Lane.
Argyle Lane has been purchased by slot-holder David Meara while Niccanova represents the slot held by Paul Reedy.
Niccanova needs little introduction to Queensland racing followers.
The nine-year-old’s 52 starts have yielded 10 wins for more than $1m in prize money with his biggest success coming in the Group Two $250,000 Tab Victory Stakes.
Argyle Lane is at the opposite end of his career, but he is amassing a growing fan club.
The lightly raced five-year-old is a half brother to Tregea’s former super stayer and Caulfield Cup winner Incentivise.
The hulking 650kg gelding’s five wins from seven starts for King includes a track-record victory over 1100 metres at Clifford Park last month.
King believes the King Of The Mountain challenge has come along at the perfect time for the up-and-coming Argyle Lane.
“He’s won five of his seven starts and he’s the perfect candidate for the King Of The Mountain,” Josh said.
“It’s a great race to be on and it’s worked out perfect timing for him, coming up through the ranks.
“The other fella Niccanova is a bit of a warhorse.
“He’s won a Group Two so it only made common sense for him to be here.
“We picked out the race about nine months ago for him, and we’ve really set him up for this one race.
“They’ll both be very competitive.
“You’ve got one horse that’s done it and one horse that’s going to try and do it.
“There’s a lot of good competitive horses coming up for it, so it’s tough to say (who might win) but long as they are competitive we’ll be all happy.”