Racing NSW has confirmed that Gr1 winning filly El Dorado Dreaming is the latest horse from the stable of suspended trainer Ben Smith to be transferred to fellow Newcastle horseman Kris Lees. El Dorado Dreaming, who was a surprise 100-1 winner of the Group 1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes in the autumn, will resume in the Gr2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday provided samples obtained from the horse come back negative for any prohibited substances. "El Dorado Dreaming has been sampled and those samples are being analysed as we speak," Racing NSW Chief Steward Mark Van Gestel told Sky Sports Radio. "We will have results back by Friday afternoon so we will be able to confirm then whether the horse is free to race on Saturday." El Dorado Dreaming is being prepared for an ambitious spring campaign which also includes the Gr1 Flight Stakes in Sydney, and the Gr1 Thousand Guineas, Gr1 Cox Plate, and Gr1 VRC Oaks in Melbourne.
Japanese-bred colt Hush Writer is set to make his Australian debut in the Strathmore Bendigo Bank Handicap (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday week. Hush Writer is part of an ambitious and ground breaking venture by Mount Hallowell Stud to target some of Australia's feature staying events, including the Melbourne Cup. In 2015, Mount Hallowell Stud owner Craig Thompson enlisted the help of champion trainer Gai Waterhouse to acquire four Japanese-bred colts with a view to bringing them to Australia. One of those colts, Hush Writer (Rulership-Star Of Sapphire, by Tapit), is now in the care of Waterhouse and co-trainer Adrian Bott having commenced his career in France. Hush Writer has shown plenty of potential in his three starts to date, including a win in the Prix Figaroscope (2000m) at ParisLongchamp in May and a second in the Gr2 Prix Hocquart (2400m) at Chantilly in June. "He's a well-travelled horse. He was born and bred in Japan, where a group of us bought him as a weanling," Waterhouse told racing.com. "We couldn't get a license in Japan to run him there, so we took him to France at my husband's suggestion." Bott told Sky Sports Radio last week that the stable "would love to qualify him for the Melbourne Cup, that's the ultimate aim."
Promising New Zealand-bred colt Vassilator (Zacinto-Highlights, by High Chaparral) will open his spring campaign in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday. The Colin Little-trained 3YO has hitherto won 2 of his four starts, including an eye-catching last-to-first victory in the Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in April. Little confirmed Vassilator would be pointed at the stallion-making $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on 14 October. "He's had a little bit of a set-back. He had a poor blood count a few of weeks ago," Little told NZ Racing Desk. "But he's really good now and we were fortunate that we had two to three weeks up our sleeve. The short term goal, if he is good enough, is the Caulfield Guineas. I am very happy with him since his trial last Tuesday (which he won over 800m)." Little said Vassilator had matured physically during his break. "We will be stretching him out and I think he has strengthened up and improved. He's a more rounded racehorse this preparation," he said. "He's the best horse I have had for a while."
Exciting stayer Divine Unicorn will continue on a path towards the Caulfield Cup after resuming with a strong win in the Maroochy Surf Club Open Handicap (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, reports Racing Queensland Webnews. It was the UK-bred Divine Unicorn's first run since winning the Gr2 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) at Doomben in June. The Melbourne spring carnival could be the springboard for Divine Unicorn heading to Hong Kong for the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on 10 December. "He’s got a long way to go but it was a very encouraging start," Dunn said. "He proved last preparation he can step up in distance quickly so he’ll go down to Melbourne now and run in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes over 1600 metres at Moonee Valley in two weeks." Dunn said Divine Unicorn’s main mission was the Caulfield Cup but he needed to win a qualifying race along the way. "I suppose it’s an ambitious plan but who knows where this horse can end up," Dunn said. "The hope is the Caulfield Cup but to get into it he’ll need to win a race along the way." Divine Unicorn will run in the Gr3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on 22 September and the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on 6 October in his bid to qualify for the Caulfield Cup.
Promising stayer Divine Unicorn will resume in the Maroochy Surf Club Open Handicap (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday in what connections hope will be the launching pad to an international campaign, reports Racing Queensland Webnews. The UK-bred gelding indicated a bright future awaits when he scored a strong win in the Gr3 Tattersall's Cup (2200m) in Brisbane in June. The Matt Dunn trainee is being set an ambitious program that includes the Gr1 Caulfield Cup and the Hong Kong international race day at Sha Tin in December. "He had a trial over 1000 metres at the Gold Coast a few weeks ago and he went well behind Big Tree and Tom Melbourne," Dunn said. "The trial was good enough for a first-up run over 1400m." Dunn added: "After this run he’ll go to Melbourne for a 1600-metre race at Moonee Valley in two weeks." Divine Unicorn (Lope De Vega-Inchberry, by Barathea) will then progress to the Gr3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on 22, the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on 6 October, before rounding out his Australian prep in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) two weeks later. All going well he’ll then head overseas for the Gr1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on 10 December.
Blue-blooded colt More Sundays is likely to head to Sydney to mix it with the best 3YOs in the land in the stallion-making Gr1 Golden Rose at Rosehill on September 22, reports racenet.com.au. Following a scintillating debut win at Geelong on August 6, co-trainer David Hayes has mapped out an ambitious plan for the son of multiple Champion Sire Fastnet Rock and 8-time Gr1 winning mare More Joyous. Hayes elaborated, "He's going to Sydney to trial on the 20th of August and he's going to run on the first of September. I just think that he's a classy horse and he's owned by a Sydney businessman [John Singleton] that would enjoy it." He added, "It's a stallion-making race so it's worth having a go at." Hayes has earmarked a BM74 contest for More Sundays to kick-off his Golden Rose quest. He currently sits at around 30-1 in early markets behind nominal favourite and yet undefeated Redoute's Choice colt The Autumn Sun.
Trainer Mick Price has confirmed that exciting 3YO Grunt will be aimed at the Cox Plate in the spring, reports racenet. The New Zealand-bred colt announced himself as one of the rising stars of Australian racing when scoring a resounding win in the Group 1 Australian Guineas in March, his fourth win from just five starts. "I think I'll keep him on a weight-for-age path. He'll either run in the PB Lawrence (Gr2) or the Memsie (Gr1) first-up and will have a weight-for-age program leading into the Cox Plate," Price said. "Whilst he will be entered in the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup, we will feel our way with him because he has only had five starts so it would be a little bit ambitious to think he could be a Melbourne Cup warrior this year." Price added: "Certainly weight-for-age and the Cox Plate will be his target and he has improved a lot physically." Another top-flight victory would send Grunt's value as a stallion prospect into the stratosphere. Not only is he a son of multiple champion New Zealand sire O'Reilly, but he is out of a half-sister to 5-time Gr1 winner and Cox Plate hero Ocean Park.
Newcastle horseman Ben Smith continues to be impressed with the progress of smart filly El Dorado Dreaming. El Dorado Dreaming, a surprise 100-1 winner of the Group 1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in the autumn, is being prepared for an ambitious spring campaign commencing with the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes and Group 1 Flight Stakes in Sydney. She will then venture south for the Group 1 Thousand Guineas, Group 1 Cox Plate and Group 1 VRC Oaks in Melbourne. "She's brilliant," Smith told racing.com. "She's impressed me the most out of anything that I've got here. She's come back in terrific order. She's more physically developed but mentally, she's like a four or five-year-old mare the way she carries herself around the stable." Smith acknowledges that a race like the Cox Plate is a very lofty goal for the rising 3YO, but says he will only enter her in the weight-for-age championship if her form warrants it. "She's started a bit of pacework and we've got her down to trial on the 20th of August," Smith said. "We'll have two runs in Sydney before coming to Melbourne - the Tea Rose Stakes over 1400 metres and then the Flight Stakes (1600m) and then three weeks to the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield." Smith added: "It's ambitious, but if she comes up we'll press to the Cox Plate with her and then to the Oaks. We'll be realistic about a Cox Plate. On the same day is the Vase against the boys and we can go to that instead if we've got doubts about the Cox Plate."
Trainer Mick Price says he couldn't be happier with the progress of exciting 3YO Grunt as he prepares for an ambitious spring carnival campaign. The New Zealand-bred colt announced himself as one of the rising stars of Australian racing when scoring a resounding win in the Group 1 Australian Guineas in March. Price said the son of O'Reilly, who has won 4 of his 5 starts, has furnished into an outstanding type and he is looking forward to him making a play at races such as the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup. "Grunt was a lightish Kiwi sort of autumn three-year-old. He had a lovely break after the Australian Guineas, and he's a magnificent four-year-old now. He's really improved," Price told racing.com. "Physically, he's made a huge improvement because we were able to give him those eight or nine weeks instead of a short break." Price added: "He'll be in those weight-for-age 1400s here [at Caulfield]. We'll kick off in one of those and then have a weight-for-age program into the Cox Plate or Caulfield Cup."
Talented Kiwi stayer Charles Road (Myboycharlie-Giant Mystique, by Giant's Causeway) is being prepared for an ambitious spring campaign that connections hope will culminate in the rising 5YO making the field for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup, reports NZ Racing Desk. "We can only hope if he comes up well and hits form again," said Andrew Scott, who trains in partnership with Lance O'Sullivan. A winner of the Gr3 City of Auckland Cup (2400m) in January, Charles Road then ran sixth in the Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) before travelling to Sydney where he won the Gr2 Chairman's Quality (2600m) and placed third in the Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in the autumn. "The trip to Sydney helped him to grow up and he's a big, strong and mature horse this time around," Scott said. "He's done six weeks work and he's looking good. He'll go to Te Teko on August 7 and hopefully he'll trial in a manner that suggests we can make a plan to get him across to Australia."
Godolphin has accepted the Moonee Valley Racing Club's invitation for Benbatl to contest this year's $5 million Group 1 WS Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 27 October, reports Godolphin.com. The Group 1 Dubai Turf winner will take his first step towards that ambitious target when he makes his next appearance in the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis-Bayeriches Zuchtrennen at Munich on Sunday, 29 July. "I have spoken to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, and he has decided to take up the invitation issued to Godolphin for Benbatl," said trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "Being a winner of the Dubai Turf, over nine furlongs, and the G3 Hampton Court Stakes, over 10 furlongs at Royal Ascot, the 2040m at Moonee Valley should be the perfect trip for Benbatl." Bin Suroor added: "Obviously, he will have to show us that he continues in good form, at Munich and in the race following, in order to travel to Australia. But, at the present time, the Cox Plate is the intended target."
Trainer Ben Smith has provided an update on the progress of Group 1 winning filly El Dorado Dreaming (Ilovethiscity-Solanas, by Zabeel). The rising 3YO, who was a surprise 100-1 winner of the Group 1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in the autumn, is being prepared for an ambitious spring campaign commencing with the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes and Group 1 Flight Stakes in Sydney, before the Group 1 Thousand Guineas, Group 1 Cox Plate, and the Group 1 VRC Oaks in Melbourne. She will make her seasonal reappearance in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on 16 September. "She's done terrific. She actually had her first piece of pace work this morning [Tuesday] and came through that with flying colours. Mentally she is a lot more mature and I'm very happy with her," Smith told Sky Sports Radio. "We've mapped out a five run preparation with her. She will kick off in the Tea Rose into the Flight Stakes, and then we will head to Melbourne. We are going to nominate her for the Cox Plate too, so she could go fourth-up into the Cox Plate and then fifth-up in the Oaks." El Dorado Dreaming hasn't raced since her fast-finishing third in the Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on 21 April. "She got held up in the Champagne and I think if she got a clear run she would have been right in the finish," said Smith. "That proved to us that she is at up to that elite level after winning the Sires' Produce at 100-1."
Group 1 winning filly El Dorado Dreaming (Ilovethiscity-Solanas, by Zabeel) is set to make her seasonal reappearance in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on 16 September. Trainer Ben Smith says the 3YO, who was a surprise 100-1 winner of the Group 1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in the autumn, was back in work and being prepared for an ambitious Spring campaign aimed at the Group 1 Flight Stakes, Group 1 Thousand Guineas, Group 1 Cox Plate, and the Group 1 VRC Oaks. "She's come back a much more mature horse," Smith told racingnsw.com.au. "We sat down with the owner and mapped out a plan. It's a little ambitious but if she comes back in the order she went out in she'll be right up to it." Smith added: ""Her run in the Champagne justified what we thought of her and that she is top class. We have 15 weeks to the Tea Rose so there's plenty of time up our sleeve, so we'll make sure we do a lot of long slow work and build a strong foundation."
At Doomben racecourse in Brisbane, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Comin' Through (Fastnet Rock-Mica's Pride, by Bite the Bullet) finally delivered on the promise he has always shown when scoring a strong win in the $650,000 weight-for-age Gr1 Doomben Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mate Egg Tart & Japanese import Ambitious. The well-related Comin' Through improved his record to 6 wins (including the Gr2 Ajax Stakes, Gr3 Bill Ritchie Handicap & Gr3 Carbine Club Stakes) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Doncaster Mile & Gr1 Randwick Guineas) from 17 starts for $1,675,171 in earnings. Trainer Chris Waller said Comin' Through had been threatening to break through at the top level for quite some time. "He's had a few Group 2 and Group 3 wins and ran second in the Group 1 Doncaster behind Happy Clapper so he's deserved to win a Group 1," Waller told Racing Queensland Webnews. "He was a bit unlucky in the Hollindale when he was pushed three deep and still did a great job to run sixth. I think he's only going to get better..." Retained to race by his breeder Sir Owen Glenn, Comin' Through is the ninth foal to race from the prolific producer Mica's Pride, dam also of multiple Gr1 winning stallion Criterion, Gr2 winner Varenna Miss and Listed winner Silently.
Oregon's Day will be out to defy history when she lines up in the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane tomorrow. Only six mares in history have won the Doomben Cup, namely Cooranga (1939), Qualeta (1943), Dream (1950), Cinque Cento (2007), and Streama (2014). Trainer Mick Price is not concerned with the race's history and is confident Oregon's Day can win the Doomben Cup at her first attempt at 2000 metres. Oregon's Day (Domesday-Oregon Seal, by Oregon) goes into the Doomben Cup as the $5 second favourite behind Ambitious after scoring a strong last-start win in the Gr2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast. "I'm really happy with her since the Hollindale and she's in great shape. The key with her was drawing a good gate and she's done that with barrier two," said Price. "The Hollindale Stakes was a test for her to see if she could run 1800 metres and she did it comfortably and was very strong to the line." Price added: "I know about the history but how many mares have run in this race with the form she's been in and she can't read anyway. I think the race is a bit different this year with the spread of older horses."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) to be run at Doomben racecourse in Brisbane this Saturday. A field of 13 horses has accepted for the weight-for-age middle-distance feature. First run in 1933, the Doomben Cup has been won by horses of the calibre of champion Bernborough (1946), Winfreux (1966), Rough Habit (1991-93), Durbridge (1994), Danewin (1995), Juggler (1996), Might And Power (1998), and Intergaze (1999). This year the $4.40 TAB favourite for the race is the Japanese import Ambitious who is set to benefit from a huge drop in class after his last-start eighth to champion Winx in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney on 14 April. Next in the market is the Gr2 Hollindale Stakes winner Oregon's Day at $5, ahead of another Japanese import in Satono Rasen at $5.50, and Comin' Through and Tom Melbourne at $9.50. All other runners are available at double figure odds. Click below to view field and barriers.
Blue blooded gelding Surrey, a son of former champion Australian mare Makybe Diva, will take his next step on an ambitious path towards this year's Melbourne Cup when he contests a benchmark 65 race over 1600 metres at Te Rapa on Saturday. Prepared by Team Rogerson, Surrey made the headlines on debut when sprinting clear for an impressive 2 length win over 1600 metres at Matamata on 2 May. Rogerson has big plans for the 5YO whom he purchased from leviathan Australian owner Lloyd Williams. "The dream is the first Tuesday in November, but I suppose a lot has got to happen before then," Rogerson told racing.com. "I think he's a Cup horse in the making. I'm just going to give him two more starts and then give him a break and come back in the spring and see if we can get him over there and make a challenge." Rogerson added: "He's a beautiful-moving horse. He's got a lot going for him. He's only running in a mile race at Te Rapa on Saturday as he's just learning how to race. It might be too short for him but it's an important race for him looking to the future." By High Chaparral, Surrey is the fifth foal to race from the legendary Makybe Diva (Desert King-Tugela, by Riverman) who claims a special place in the pantheon of Australian racing as the only horse to win three Melbourne Cups.
The Anthony Freedman yard are bullish about the chances of Japanese import Ambitious claiming his maiden Group 1 success in Saturday's Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane. Ambitious (Deep Impact) faces a huge class drop after his last-start performance when eighth behind Winx in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney when nothing went right for him in the run. He had previously shown his class when finishing an unlucky second to Almandin in the Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Randwick. "We certainly think he's got a very good chance of winning a race like this," Freedman's racing manager Brad Taylor told racing.com. "We put him in the QE thinking he was a good chance after his run in the Tancred, but he didn't get all favours - he lost three shoes in running in the QE, which doesn't help any horses." Taylor added: "If everything goes to plan on Saturday, he should be a big chance. He'll certainly get his chance to win a Group 1 in Australia."
Exciting sprinter Care To Think (So You Think-Slippery Madam, by Hussonet) will gallop between races at Murwillumbah today as he prepares for Saturday's $700,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) in Brisbane, reports Sky Racing. Care To Think is entered in a barrier trial after the last race but trainer Matt Dunn hopes the 4YO will be able to gallop on the course proper. "Unless there is a dramatic change he will work on the course proper," said Dunn. "He is going very well at the moment and we are looking forward to Saturday's 10,000." A brilliant winner of the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on the Gold Coast in January, Care To Think hasn't raced since finishing a close second to Crack Me Up in the Group 3 Liverpool Cup (1300m) at Randwick on 3 March. Care To Think has been set an ambitious Group 1 programme with the Doomben 10,000, Kingsford Smith Stakes and Stradbroke Handicap all on his winter agenda. "He is a horse who needs to draw a good barrier or he wants to over-race. At least we get three chances at drawing a good barrier in Brisbane," said Dunn.
Trainer Anthony Freedman says Queensland's weather will determine whether or not talented Japanese import Ambitious makes an appearance over the winter carnival. Freedman is keen to run the son of Deep Impact in the Gr1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on 19 May provided the track is not rain affected. Freedman says Ambitious' last start performance when eighth behind Winx in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) should be ignored when nothing went right for him in the run. He had previously shown his class when finishing an unlucky second to Almandin in the Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Randwick. "He's been up there about a week," Freedman told racing.com. "I was really happy with the way he came through the Queen Elizabeth. He lost shoes and it all went terribly wrong the other day but he's still in good shape and the plan is certainly to head towards the Doomben Cup." Freedman added: "If we get wet tracks he certainly won't run. He'll just take a break up there but if we get the right track, he'll certainly be running."
Trainer Ben Smith has outlined an ambitious race program that will see top sprinter In Her Time target Australia's major sprint races before making her debut on the world stage, reports racing.com. In Her Time (Time Thief-Hell It's Hot, by Zeditave) confirmed herself as one of the premier speedsters in the country when claiming her first Gr1 victory in last month's Galaxy. She was then an unlucky third behind Trapeze Artist in the TJ Smith Stakes on the opening day of The Championships. Smith has several domestic Gr1 sprints mapped out for the 5YO before a likely overseas trip for the Gr1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin in December. "Obviously we go to Brisbane for two races, the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap [both Gr1s]. I think the month between runs will suit her and then she'll have a short break before having one run into The Everest," Smith said. "After that she'll head to Melbourne for the Darley Classic [Gr1] and then we'll hopefully jump on a plane and head to Hong Kong for the December sprint race."
Hugh Bowman says Winx will face her toughest challenge in years when she lines up in tomorrow's $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick. "It's probably the hardest task she has had for quite some time and when I say that I mean a couple of years, probably [since] her first Cox Plate. It's going to be one hell of a race and all we want it a smooth passage," Bowman told Racing NSW. "Usually there is one main horse to be focused on but this week there is three or four or maybe even five that are primed for their target." He added: "If Gailo Chop is allowed to control things to his liking he will take some running down. If the pressure is right on he might be feeling the pinch from the 200-300m mark but if that's the case a horse like Humidor or Ambitious, who I thought was very impressive in the Tancred Stakes, will be capitalising on the genuine pace...the bottom line is that there are horses there, no matter how the race is run, that are going to perform very, very well." However, despite the healthy respect he has for the opposition, Bowman has absolute faith in Winx. "She's in great order and I'm really happy with how she has come through the George Ryder win. Her work here on Tuesday morning was absolutely outstanding," he said. Winx will attempt to equal Black Caviar's record of 25 consecutive victories and claim her 18th Group 1 title in the Queen Elizabeth. The Chris Waller-trained superstar already holds the world record for most number of Group 1 victories which stands at 17 after her win in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill on 24 March.
The Lloyd Williams-owned Almandin (Monsun-Anatola, by Tiger Hill) returned to his brilliant best when outstaying his rivals in the $500,000 Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday. The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner proved too strong for his rivals in the time-honoured weight-for-age feature, defeating Japanese import Ambitious & Who Shot Thebarman by 1.3 lengths. The 8YO German-bred gelding is now the $3.50 TAB favourite for the $2 million Gr1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 April. "It's pleasing to get back on him. He was in great shape today and it's good to see him bounce back at the top level," said Kerrin McEvoy, who was reunited with Almandin for the first time since guiding him to his Melbourne Cup success. "He travelled a bit more forward than I thought we might be but he travelled really well and he was strong at the end of the 2400 metres today." Almandin advanced his record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Melbourne Cup, Gr2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Unternehmer, Gr3 Bart Cummings Handicap & Listed Japan Racing Association Trophy) and 7 placings from 20 starts for $5,301,091 in earnings.
Trainer Anthony Freedman believes that Japanese import Ambitious (Deep Impact-Carnival Song, by El Condor Pasa) can develop into a Cox Plate horse in the spring, but first he is hoping he can make his mark in Saturday's Gr1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill. "Potentially he could be a Cox Plate horse, a fast run 2000m race on firm ground is what his best form says he is," Freedman told racingnsw.com.au. "His form would suggest he is very highly rated. I do think he is probably still acclimatising and that probably won’t be complete until the spring." Freedman added: "We are learning about the horse, if we can get a result along the way it will be a bonus. We’ll get through Saturday and see how we are going after that." Ambitious, who made his Australian debut with a 9th placing in the Australian Cup on 10 March, boasts high class form in his native Japan, including a win over champion stayer Kitasan Black in the Gr2 Sankei Osaka Hai (2000m) and a fourth placing behind the outstanding Maurice in the Gr1 Tenno Sho (2000m) in the autumn of 2016.
The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has made changes to its leadership team as part of its long term racing strategy to retain its position as Australia’s premier racecourse. This has resulted in Martin Talty, Executive General Manager Racing, and Mick Goodie, Senior Manager Flemington Racecourse, leaving the Club. VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson thanked both Mr Talty and Mr Goodie for their contribution to the Club and wished them both well for the future. Effective immediately, Liam O’Keeffe will assume the role of Senior Manager Flemington Racecourse, while Mr Wilson will oversee the VRC’s racing portfolio until a permanent replacement for the position of Executive General Manager Racing has been announced. "The VRC is looking to drive the racing strategy forward with an ambitious growth and innovation agenda, essential to maintaining our leadership position locally and globally," Mr Wilson said.
Waikato Stud has decided not to shuttle exciting young stallion Tivaci (High Chaparral-Breccia, by Fastnet Rock) to Europe for the 2018 breeding season. The Group 1-winner was very well received by Australasian breeders with a top quality 2017 book of more than 140 mares. "After such a successful season that has just gone so quickly, we have decided not to take up the offer of a Northern Hemisphere season at the English National Stud," Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick said. "This decision was not taken lightly. As you know, this option was not in our original planning, but developed after the initial approach from the English National Stud." Chittick added: "However, he would have been one of four first season sires within their operation so we felt his opportunities may become limited and we were not prepared to risk Tivaci on this venture." Tivaci’s book included Group 1 winner's Daffodil, Costume and I Do. He also covered the dams of Group 1 winners Ambitious Dragon (dual Hong Kong Horse of the Year), Kawi, Shamexpress, Brambles, Thee Auld Floozie and Consensus.
Connections are hoping that a rise in trip to a mile can help exciting prospect Chopin's Fantaisie (Pins-Golden Gamble, by Oregon) return to winning ways at Kranji in Singapore on Sunday, reports the Singapore Turf Club. The New Zealand-bred 4YO stamped himself as an emerging star when winning is first four starts in his adopted homeland before suffering the only loss of his brief career in a Class 3 event over 1400m on 28 August. On that occasion the son of Pins had genuine excuses, getting too far out of his ground but still running on strongly against a perceived leaders track bias. "He will have to win well this Sunday. We are eventually looking at the Gold Cup for him, but that race will dictate where we go from here," said assistant-trainer Michael White. "It's unlikely he will go to the Kranji Mile but the Raffles Cup and the Gold Cup are options we are looking at for him." Purchased for $150,000 by his trainer Michael Clements at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale, Chopin's Fantaisie is a half-brother to three-time Gr1 winner and former Hong Kong champion racehorse Ambitious Dragon.
After an outstanding autumn which resulted in three consecutive city wins, trainer Brad Graham is planning an ambitious spring campaign with promising Western Australian galloper Tonkatuff. After a short break, Tonkatuff is now back in work and Graham is raising the bar for the exciting son of Bombora Downs Stud stallion Therock (Fastnet Rock). "He's such a big, strong and athletic horse that it was obvious that he only needed time to mature to fulfil his potential," said Graham. "We are looking at some pretty good races for him and will target the $100,000 Listed Hannans Handicap at Kalgoorlie in September and the $100,000 Listed Northam Cup in October." Both Graham and owner-breeder Brad Cooper are big fans of Tonkatuff's sire, Therock. "I really like the breed," Cooper said. "I have seen the stallion and he is one of the best looking stallions that you could ever wish to see. He is clearly stamping his progeny and they all seem to be big, strong and athletic types – just like him." From limited opportunities, Therock continues to produce winners around the country with Mercury Rocks winning impressively at the recent Bendigo meeting and Miss Harley Quinn winning in WA. Therock is again standing at Christoph Bruechert's Bombora Downs Stud on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula at a fee of $3,500 + gst.
Following a runaway win on debut at Hawera in August, New Zealand filly Blanco Belle is set to face her first acid test when she lines up in the Listed The O'Leary's Fillies' Stakes at Wanganui on Saturday, reports theinformant.co.nz. Trainer and part-owner Susan Rainford purchased the daughter of Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco for a bargain NZ$3,000 from the Cambridge Stud draft at the 2015 New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling, Broodmare and Mixed Sale with staying events in mind. "She's a staying filly and this is her first preparation," Rainford commented. "She was difficult to break in – she's tough and strong for her age, even though she doesn't actually turn three until October." Rainford is also bullish when it comes to potentially exploring grander plans with the filly, "There's not a lot around for staying fillies in New Zealand, so we might give her a spell after this. There's a nice race in Australia – the VRC Oaks. That's ambitious, but you never know." Interestingly, from a pedigree angle, Blanco Belle descends from Gr1 VRC Sires' Produce Stakes and Gr1 WATC Australian Derby winner Wonder Dancer, while her fourth dam was star staying filly and NZ Champion 3YO Star Belle.
Top Irish trainer Willie Mullins has unveiled an ambitious plan that could see unheralded 5YO Riven Light take on champion Australian mare Winx in the Gr1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 28 October, reports Racing Post. Riven Light, an Irish-bred son of Raven's Pass, is a winner of 4 of his 15 starts, but is yet to win a stakes race. What seems to have ignited Mullins' interest in travelling to Australia is Riven Light's impressive win in a Galway Handicap over 8.5 furlongs earlier this month. However, he would face a monumental task. Winx is currently rated the world's best turf horse and will be chasing her 18th consecutive victory when she makes her seasonal reappearance in the Gr2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday. That race will mark the beginning of an historic spring campaign for the 12-time Gr1 winner and recent Hall Of Fame inductee, who will attempt to join the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates. "Riven Light will need to improve but the Cox Plate is on our radar for him and we would like to take it on," Mullins said. "We will hopefully get one or two more runs into him before we start making concrete plans about Australia. We would like to run him on better ground on a more conventional track as Galway is a very unique racecourse and the ground was quite soft for both of his runs there."
Longchamp will be chasing successive Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) titles at New Plymouth tomorrow, reports NZ Racing Desk. Trainer Andrew Campbell is happy with how the five-year-old has performed during this campaign, placing in both of his starts. He ran a creditable third at Trentham behind Opunake Cup rival New York Minute, before heading to Awapuni on July 8 where he was pipped at the line by the promising Dolcetto. "In the first race (at Trentham) he needed a run because he hadn't had a trial at all and he just came to the end of it when he hit the bog up the straight. I was happy with that run, he had a good blow," Campbell said. "His last start was a good run I thought, he carried a lot more weight than Dolcetto, who is an up and coming horse." He added: "I'm over the moon with him, he's come through it great and he'll be going in there really happy. His work on Tuesday was super." Campbell has set Longchamp an ambitious programme for the spring, with the Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa and the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy on the agenda. "We'll see how he comes through the race and he may go to Te Rapa for the Foxbridge, we'll just play it by ear with that," he said. "He'll head to Hastings for the first race (Tarzino Trophy), which has always been his main aim." Longchamp finished 5th in last year's Foxbridge Plate (behind Saracino), and 4th (behind Kawi) in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (now the Tarzino Trophy).
New Zealand-bred 3YO Chopin's Fantaisie (Pins-Golden Gamble, by Oregon) extended his unbeaten record to four when winning the $60,000 Open Benchmark 67 race over 1400m at Kranji racecourse in Singapore on Sunday, reports turfclub.com.sg. The son of Pins had to really stretch to hold off the gallant Aotearoa, but jockey Glen Boss played down the narrow half-length margin suggesting it was simply the gelding's nature to do the bare essential to get the job done. The winning time of 1:21.88 was only 0.10 of a second outside the class record. "He will never win by a space - that is not his caper. It's more cat-and-mouse style with him," said Boss after dismounting. "But he's got a lovely long action and has a great attitude. He will grow and mature further as he's not the full product yet. He is coming along quite well and will be even better in six months' time." Purchased for $150,000 by his trainer Michael Clements at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale, Chopin's Fantaisie is a half-brother to three-time Gr1 winner and former Hong Kong champion racehorse Ambitious Dragon. "Considering he has a well-related sibling we were quite happy to get him at such a price," Clements said. "He will go towards a Class 3 race in four to five weeks' time and I may look at a feature race late in the season for him, like the Committee's Prize." The Gr3 Committee's Prize is a handicap race run over 1600m on 17 September.
Exciting Kiwi colt Summer Passage (Snitzel-Subsequent, by Encosta de Lago) has returned to the stable of Lance O’Sullivan to prepare for an ambitious spring carnival campaign in Melbourne, reports AAP. Summer Passage has reportedly been back in work for a month with O’Sullivan confirming that his primary spring target is the stallion-making Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on 4 November. A winner of the Gr1 Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie in March, Summer Passage confirmed his status as one of the best 2YOs in training with a second placing behind Invader in the Gr1 Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in Sydney in the autumn.
New Zealand Bloodstock subsidiary gavelhouse.com's record breaking sale on Monday saw the business hit major milestones. A total of 40 lots were sold for an aggregate of $587,800, pushing the total turnover for gavelhouse.com sales to over $3 million since it launched in April 2016. The top lot was purchased by renowned bloodstock agent John Foote in his first foray into buying online. Foote secured broodmare Ampin (Pins x Ambitious) in foal to New Zealand's award-sweeping Group 1 sire Savabeel for a record $211,000. The increased popularity of online trading has had a positive influence on clearance rates, with the site consistently achieving clearance rates of over 80% in recent months and in particular, 93% for this sale. "gavelhouse.com has well and truly exceeded our expectations. In a little over a year the company has sold 531 horses for just under $3.1 million dollars" said NZB managing director Andrew Seabrook. Entries for gavelhouse.com's next New Zealand auction are now open and will close on Monday, 19 June at 7pm. The catalogue will be launched at 5pm on Tuesday, 20 June and bidding will close from 7pm on Monday 26 June. Nominations are now open for NZB's 92nd National Yearling Sales Series due to be held at Karaka on 28 January – 4 February 2018, while online entries for the 2017 Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs will open on 11 July. The Sale will be held at Karaka on 22 & 23 November, with Breeze Ups at Te Rapa on 16 & 17 October.
At Doomben racecourse in Brisbane, Rich Hill Stud's Melbourne Cup winning stallion Shocking (Street Cry-Maria di Castiglia, by Danehill) added a Group success when 4YO bay gelding Chocante (Shocking-Strictly Maternal, by O'Reilly) relished a return to firmer footing when posting a dominant win in the $300,000 Gr2 Brisbane Cup (2200m) for 3YO+, defeating Single Gaze & Pemberley. Chocante's performance showed why trainer Stephen Marsh holds him in such high regard and improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr3 Counties Cup) and 6 placings (including the Gr3 BRC Chairman's Handicap) from 15 starts for $305,271 in earnings. Marsh said Chocante will return home to New Zealand before returning in the spring for an ambitious tilt at the Caulfield & Melbourne Cups. "He's a good horse and I rapt to win this race before he goes home," Marsh told Racing Queensland Webnews. "I'll bring him back for the spring in Melbourne and aim high for the Cups but we can always come down a level or two."
Trainer Michael Costa has reported to Racing NSW stewards that talented filly Manaya (Hinchinbrook-Hot 'n' Breezy, by Zephyr Zip) pulled up with back soreness following her sixth place to Omei Sword in Saturday's Gr2 Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick. Costa said the 3YO would now be spelled. Manaya, who is a three-quarter sister to brilliant dual Gr1-winning mare Hot Danish, made an auspicious start to her career when storming home from last on the turn to win the Listed Woodlands Stakes (1100m) at Scone in May. Costa had some ambitious plans for Manaya in the spring, including a tilt at next month's $1 million Gr1 Golden Rose.
Trainer Donna Logan says that classy Kiwi mare Valley Girl is likely to have one more start at home before crossing the Tasman to prepare for the spring carnival in Melbourne. Valley Girl, a winner of the Gr1 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa earlier this year, kicked off her ambitious spring campaign with a surprise win in the Harcourts Optimize Group Handicap (1200m) at Ruakaka on Saturday. Logan said the 4YO Mastercraftsman mare will make her next appearance in the Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings on 27 August before flying out to Australia where her primary target will be the Gr1 Caulfield Cup. "She's terrific. She's come back bigger and stronger than ever. She won beautifully the other day and she's bounced out of it very well," Logan told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "We're looking forward to her next start in the Makfi [Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes] which will determine our direction so its very exciting." Logan, who prepares Valley Girl in partnership with Chris Gibbs, said there were plenty of options for the mare moving forward. "We have a few options pencilled in at this stage," she said. "She could go to Melbourne and run in the Makybe Diva, Turnbull and Caulfield Cup, which is the obvious path, or she could go to the Windsor Park Plate before the Turnbull. We're lucky that we have a few options." Logan added: "She is also nominated for the Cox Plate." Logan said Valley Girl compared very favourably to her former top mare Rising Romance, who finished runner-up to the ill-fated Admire Rakti in the 2014 edition of the Caulfield Cup. "I definitely think she is up to a Caulfield Cup," Logan said. "She is probably a bit sharper than Rising Romance. I think she'll be well suited." The Caulfield Cup (2400m) will be run at Caulfield racecourse on 15 October.
At Eagle Farm in Brisbane, 6YO imported gelding Murphy's Delight (Hurricane Run-Akoya, by Anabaa) landed the first stakes victory of his career when scoring by 0.8-length for trainer Chris Waller in the $100,00 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) for 3YO+, over 5YO gelding Pop 'N' Scotch (Husson-Popnik, by Galileo) & 5YO mare Viva Espana (Dubawi-Expressly, by Success Express). Murphy's Delight, who began his career in his native Ireland, was a £65,000 purchase by Chris Waller Racing at the 2013 Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training Sale. His latest success boosted his record to 5 wins and 14 placings from 30 starts for $276,977 earnings. Waller will now spell Murphy's Delight before bringing him back for a spring campaign. "He'll spell now and come back for the spring but we won't be looking at anything too ambitious," Waller said. "We've had him all the time since he came over here and he's made steady improvement but he's not up to the big Cups in Melbourne." He added: "There's a 2800 metre race on Melbourne Cup day which looks attractive."
Outstanding filly Yankee Rose (All American-Condesaar, by Xaar) will have her workload stepped up a gear this week as trainer David Vandyke lays the platform for an ambitious campaign aimed at the Cox Plate in the spring, reports ANZ Bloodstock News. The rising 3YO is set to barrier trial at the Sunshine Coast in two weeks time as she continues to build toward a return in the Gr1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on 10 September. The aptly named daughter of All American stamped herself as the best juvenile filly in Australia courtesy of her second placing behind Capitalist in the Gr1 Golden Slipper and her brilliant win in the Gr1 Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in the autumn. However a foot abscess in the lead-up to the Champagne Stakes forced her to abandon her bid for a juvenile Gr1 double. “Condition wise I am happy with her. She is going to have a barrier trial two weeks on Tuesday,” Vandyke told ANZ Bloodstock News. “I’m happy enough with her, but this next week will be a telling factor because I am going to put the pressure on her." He added: "At this stage, we’ll go to the Golden Rose, the Flight Stakes, Cox Plate and the Oaks and it’s just a matter of whether I put the Run To The Rose in front of that.”
Gr1-winning filly Single Gaze has returned to the stable of trainer Nick Olive as she commences her build up towards the spring. The 3YO daughter of Arrowfield stallion Not A Single Doubt gave Olive the biggest win of his career when claiming the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes in the autumn. "I'm really happy with her," Olive told AAP. "She's tough and has come back even stronger than at the commencement of her last campaign. She's settled back in, is relaxed and going through everything perfectly." He added: "She's more muscular and feels stronger under saddle." Olive has mapped out an ambitious spring campaign for Single Gaze which could include a tilt at the Gr1 Cox Plate in October. "She will initially be headed towards the W H Stock Stakes which is a Group 2 mares race at Mooney Valley over a mile; it looks a really nice race for her," he said. "She will be nominated for all the big spring races and if she can win the Stocks - or goes well - the Cox Plate will definitely be on the radar, but she's got to show she's up to it."
Meanwhile, trainer Fred Kersley is keen to see how Lite'n In My Veins (Henrythenavigator-Beauty World, by Danehill Dancer) comes up this preparation before making any ambitious plans for the spring, reports the West Australian. The boom WA three-year-old, who is a half-brother to Gr3 ATC Frank Packer Plate & Gr3 ATC Carbine Club Stakes winner Hi World (High Chaparral), has won 3 of his 4 starts to date, highlighted by his win in the Gr3 Lee-Steere Classic (1400m) in December. "Lite'n In My Veins has had about three weeks' work," Kersley said. "He'll go through the classes to get more experience." He added: "Until he races against the best and beats them, he is a work in progress."
At Flemington in Melbourne, Raheen Stud's deceased Gr1 Epsom Handicap winner Captain Sonador (Shamardal-Pushing Daisies, by Kenny's Best Pal) celebrated his first stakes winner when 2YO gelding Throssell (Captain Sonador-O' Venus, by Anabaa) scored by 1.25-lengths for trainer Ciaron Maher in the $120,000 Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m) for 2YOs, over 2YO colt Pyx Chamber (Street Cry-Ambitious Lady, by Anabaa) & 2YO filly Smart As You Think (So You Think-Satirical Lady, by Giant's Causeway). The unbeaten Throssell extended his record to 2 wins from 2 starts and $84,200 earnings. Throssell was purchased by Wylie Dalziel Racing for $70,000 at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Raheen Stud. Trainer Ciaron Maher said Throssell would now be spelled to prepare for races such as the Caulfield Guineas and Victoria Derby in the spring. "The horse has really got no idea what he's doing still," Maher told racing.com. "Whatever he's doing now he seems to be doing on raw ability and I think he's still got to grow a bit as well." He added: "He's got a bright future I think."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, inery shuttler More Than Ready (Southern Halo-Woodman's Girl, by Woodman) added a black-type success when 2YO colt Prized Icon (More Than Ready-Tropical Affair, by Danehill) scored by 2 lengths for trainer James Cummings in the $150,000 Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m) for 2YOs, over 2YO gelding Crown Him (Casino Prince-Ambitious Princess, by Savabeel) & 2YO filly Lasqueti Spirit (Beneteau-Supriym Story, by General Nediym). This was the first stakes victory for Prized Icon who took his record to 1 win and 5 placings (including the Gr3 ATC Schweppervescence Handicap & Gr3 Black Opal Stakes) from 6 starts for $195,850 earnings. Prized Icon was retained to race by his breeder Gooree Stud when he was passed in for $250,000 at last year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. From the stakes winning Danehill mare Tropical Affair, Prized Icon is a full-brother to Gr3 Sweet Embrace Stakes winner Romantic Moon and a half-brother to Gr3 Inglis Mile winner Matras (Zabeel).
Talented mare Azkadellia (Shinko King-Raving, by Centaine) will launch her Doncaster Mile campaign in tomorrow's Gr3 Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. The New Zealand-bred 4YO is yet to win a black-type race but showed she possesses plenty of potential when finishing third behind Politeness in the Gr1 Myer Classic (1600m) at her most recent outing in the spring. "I think she will take a lot of improvement out of it [her first-up run]. She a quality horse and I'm training her to peak in Sydney a bit later on but she's had a couple of soft trials and she'll be pretty sharp at 1200m," trainer Ciaron Maher told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "We'll ride her in her usual pattern [get back run on]. If she's good enough, good, if she doesn't get there I know she'll be pretty right to go next time." After Saturday, Azkadellia will have her next run in the Gr3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 27 February before heading to Sydney for the Gr1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Gr1 Doncaster Mile.
The Inglis Summer Thoroughbred Sale concluded at Newmarket in Sydney on Friday with a clearance rate of 95 per cent. "Today's sale has been a great end to what has been a stellar year in the Newmarket Sale ring," said Inglis National Bloodstock Director Jonathan D'Arcy. "The outstanding clearance rate was helped by over 80 individuals registered for online bidding today and obviously this has become a big part of Inglis mixed sales throughout the year," D'Arcy said. Topping the sale was Gr1-placed 5YO Best Case (Savabeel x Ambitious) which was secured by Queensland-based Aquis Farm for $120,000. "We've got 25 two-year-olds coming through our system, and are in the process of adding a few proven gallopers such as Best Case into the stable. We are excited for our clients to get him to Aquis Farm where our trainer Brian Guy will be able to plan his 2016 campaign, which will hopefully take in some of the top races in Queensland and New South Wales," said Aquis Farm Racehorse and Sales Manager Kacy Fogden. The second top price was achieved by lightly raced 3YO filly Moodhilla (Exceed And Excel x La Guichet) who was sold for $82,000. Purchasers Yu Long Investments have had recent success with another of their Inglis mixed sale purchases, Our Voodoo Prince, which won the Pakenham Cup last week under the guidance of Darren Weir, who will take charge of Moodhilla also. The final Inglis sale in 2015 is the December Thoroughbred Sale, at Oaklands Complex in Melbourne this Friday 11 December. 140 Lots have been catalogued so far, with supplementary entries for the sale closing at 9.00am Monday 7 December.
Valachi Downs general manager Jonathan Scully has provided a brief update on former star Kiwi mare Silent Achiever (O'Reilly-Winning Spree, by Zabeel) who was sent to England earlier this year as part of the first stage of an ambitious breeding programme, reports theinformant.co.nz. The outstanding daughter of O'Reilly, who is owned by Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman, will be courted by some of the stars of the international stallion world, with the likes of Sea The Stars, Galileo and Dansili expected to be among her potential suitors. She was covered by the world's highest-ever rated racehorse, Frankel in September. "She took to her first service in early September, so she's well in foal," said Scully. "Kevin has yet to decide who she will go to next year, but he's got a range of lovely stallions to choose from." Trained by Roger James, Silent Achiever will be remembered as one of the best Kiwi mares of the modern era winning 10 of her 36 starts for over $3.1 million prize money, highlighted by four Gr1 victories in the New Zealand Derby, New Zealand Stakes, Ranvet Stakes and The BMW.
Able Friend (Shamardal-Ponte Piccolo, by Volksraad) was crowned Hong Kong Horse of the Year at a glittering ceremony at the Grand Hyatt on Friday night. The outstanding galloper, who won 4 Gr1 races this season, was also named Champion Miler and secured 59 per cent of the public vote to claim the Most Popular Horse title. The Australian-bred 5YO joins an elite group that includes Fairy King Prawn, Electronic Unicorn, Bullish Luck, Good Ba Ba and Ambitious Dragon as horses to have claimed Horse of the Year honours and the Champion Miler title in the same season. Able Friend was bred and sold by Stuart Ramsey's Scone-based Turangga Farm draft at the 2011 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale to Hong Kong bloodstock agent George Moore for $550,000. The son of Shamardal has now won 12 of his 19 starts for $8,185,156 in prize money. Among the other winners on the night were Able Friend's trainer John Moore who claimed his seventh Champion Trainers title; Aerovelocity was named Champion Sprinter; Designs On Rome collected the Champion Middle-Distance Horse award; while exciting young sprinter Thewizardofoz, by Redoute's Choice out of champion NZ filly Princess Coup, claimed the title of Champion Griffin. Click here to view all category winners.
Allan Sharrock says a bigger and stronger Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) is set to make a serious impact this spring, reports NZ Racing Desk. The New Plymouth trainer is keeping close tabs on his star galloper as the 5YO Savabeel gelding prepares for an ambitious early campaign beginning with the Gr2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on August 15. "I'm hoping to have him at the Foxbridge Plate and then we'll look at the triple crown at Hastings," Sharrock said. "As to whether he races in all three races there, we'll just play that as it comes but I think you'll see the real Kawi this year." Kawi spelled after his fast-finishing third behind Pondarosa Miss in the Gr1 Easter Handicap (1600m) at Ellerslie in April, capping a string of high-class performances, including wins in the Listed Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham and the Gr3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) at New Plymouth. "He's with the pre-trainer at the moment and he'll be back to me on the first of July," Sharrock said. "I'd like to give him a couple of jump-outs before the Foxbridge Plate and he might have an exhibition gallop here on Opunake Cup day [at New Plymouth on July 15]." He added: ""He had five weeks out after the Easter but he's only being paddock-trained at the moment, so basically it's an extended holiday. I'm really happy with him. He's probably put on 50 kilos. He's a big horse now."
Dermot Weld has outlined ambitious plans for richly talented Prince Of Wales's Stakes winner Free Eagle (High Chaparral-Polished Gem, by Danehill), which include top European features the Juddmonte International Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, reports Racing Post. Held in the highest regard by Weld, the 4YO by High Chaparral vindicated his trainer's lofty opinion when defying an eight month absence from the track to defeat The Grey Gatsby in an exciting finish to the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. "It was one of those special days," Weld told At The Races. "He's a very talented horse, but unfortunately a lot of people never got the opportunity to see that. We're beginning to see it though." He added:"We always saw natural talent in him and then we had a chapter of problems, but that's behind us and it's onwards and upwards. He's got an excellent Group 1 behind him and hopefully we can go on to more Group 1 races with him." The sky appears to be the limit for the lightly raced Free Eagle, who has battled injury for much of his career in which he has won 3 of his 5 starts. "We haven't made final decisions yet, but you look at the Juddmonte International, you look at the Irish Champion Stakes and hopefully the Arc would be the final aim for him," said Weld. "He's a high-class horse over a mile and a quarter, but I have every reason to believe he'll get a mile and a half."
Dual Classic winner Mongolian Khan (Holy Roman Emperor-Centafit, by Centaine) has returned to the Cambridge stable of trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman as he prepares for an ambitious spring campaign aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, reports AAP. The 3YO Holy Roman Emperor colt has been back in work for about two weeks following an outstanding autumn prep in which he claimed both the New Zealand and Australian Derby's. Baker said Mongolian Khan is likely to make his seasonal reappearance in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on 12 September. Mongolian Khan has won 7 of his 9 starts for $1,908,333 earnings.