Content on Coast, Jenkins has eye on Caloundra Cup
RACING: Ex-Doomben Cup-winning trainer Paul Jenkins is relishing life on the Sunshine Coast and has got a potential Caloundra Cup contender in his ranks.
The 57-year-old moved from New Zealand to the region five years ago and now has a small stable of "half a dozen" horses.
It's a far cry from days gone by when he worked with a team of 40-50 but he's enjoying a more "hands-on" approach.
And he seems to have a prospect in five-year-old Toni May, which stormed to a one-and-a-half length win over Nelumbo in a class 3 plate (1600m) at Corbould Park on Sunday.
The $1.35 favourite, with Jim Byrne aboard, claimed her third win in five starts and she's yet to run outside the placings.
"She's a mare that I think that can measure up at carnival time, at one of the cups," Jenkins said.
"When it comes to racing over 2000m, she's probably the real deal. She's got pedigree and a turn of foot.
"When we get to the carnival and she's got through there with the number of wins on board but not having won too much in the way of prize money she should get a run at them (cups) without any weight."
He said he will look at possible races "as we get a bit closer" but said Caloundra and Brisbane Cups may be considered.
Jenkins also said he was content on the Coast. "It's pretty easy to make a living and the climate's good. The beaches are good and I enjoy living here."
He trained King Keirel to the 2001 Doomben Cup and Bazelle to the 2005 Auckland Cup while his brother Brian trained Jezabeel to the 1998 Melbourne Cup.
He said the Coast's racing environment had improved and it was a perfect location to ready horses for Melbourne's Spring Carnival.
"There is nowhere better to prepare a horse better for it than here," he said.
"I think this is a really good place to develop a horse. In the time I've been here it's changed immensely - the infrastructure. When I arrived here there was nothing much in the way of good spelling farms and breakers and pre-trainers and that sort of stuff.
"But now you've got any number of good farriers and vets....it'll be a major training centre."
He said south-east Queensland runners have the opportunity to thrive in late October-early November.
"They talk about Queensland sprinters being really good and successful in the Spring Carnival but if you look, you see they've been really successful at the start of the carnival.
"They're not any better than the good Melbourne and Sydney sprinters, it's just that when they get there they're fit because they've had tracks to work on and good footing to race on.
"They've got a bit of an edge when they get there. Buffering was a good example. When he got down there he was fit and ready to go whereas the other horses been battling bad tracks and wet tracks and had nowhere to gallop during the winter.
"Here you've got good tracks and good weather and it's easy to prepare a horse and have them ready.
"(King Keirel) won a lot of money down at Melbourne in the spring because he was prepared up here.
"I won the Doomben Cup bit didn't take him home (to New Zealand) and spelled him and prepared him here and then took him to Melbourne.
"(Bazelle) raced up here and was spelled and then taken to Melbourne and ran second in the Moonee Valley Cup."
Jenkins' connections hail from a variety of places, including Singapore and New Zealand.
"I've no idea why but I don't seem to be able to attract much in the way of local clientele but that's the way it is," he said.