Tablelands trainer Ricky Ludwig with eyes on NQ features

Atherton Tablelands trainer Ricky Ludwig is gearing up for his biggest North Queensland race win in the $105,000 Northern Jewel 3YO at Cluden Park Townsville on Friday week.

Ludwig is hoping his promising gelding Lord Of Light gains a spot in the feature after a dazzling third in the prelude last Friday.

Lord Of Light was an unlucky third, beaten a nose and short neck, behind the Roy Chillemi-trained Palencia and Fire King, who was an impressive winner at Mackay on Tuesday.

Ludwig bought Lord Of Light for $15,000 in an online sale from Annabel Neasham's stable as an unraced two-year-old colt with one barrier trial.

He immediately gelded the horse and put him to work in his Malanda stables.

"We had a fair bit of trouble with him at first, he went shin sore twice then crashed into a fence hurting a leg," the 69-year-old veteran said.

"There was no real damage to his leg but it took a while to get right.

"He's fine now and his run last week convinced me he's up with the top three-year-olds in the north".

Palencia, unbeaten in three starts as a two-year-old and twice a winner in his past five starts, and Yes Dream are among top hopes but the race may attract entries from Mackay and Rockhampton.

"My bloke won his maiden at Cairns by seven lengths but he has no early speed and although he rattled home over 1300 metres last week, he'll be better over a longer trip and I am aiming him at the Townsville Guineas during the Winter Carnival in July and August,' Ludwig said.

"I reckon he'll get over a middle distance being out of a Reenact mare and could even be a northern Cups horse next season."

Ludwig has booked teenage female jockey sensation Jasmine Cornish for the Jewel feature after her classy ride last week.

Although it was her Cluden Park debut, she was reminded that she had virtually ridden for Ludwig before, albeit as an unborn in her mother Sheree Drake's womb.

"She really impressed me and I will go as far as to say she could well be another Michelle Payne or Jamie Kah," Ludwig said.

Palencia, the most successful progeny of dual Group 1 winner Palentino, who was trained by Darren Weir, had a short break leading into last week's race and Chillemi used his three-kilogram claiming apprentice Rachel Shred to take advantage of a weight reduction.

She will be replaced by last year's Cluden premiership winner Graham Kliese in the feature.

Yes Dream, also trained on the Tablelands by Michael Lee, has been very impressive in his three wins, although he only scored narrowly from Palencia at his meeting three weeks ago.

The stage is set for a stirring prelude to Cluden Park's richest 2YO feature next month.


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