A glowing report from a Group One-winning jockey has boosted trainer Stephen Marsh's confidence ahead of another Australian campaign for talented Kiwi stayer Chocante, reports NZ Racing Desk. "Troy Harris rode him in a trial at Taupo before the horse went to Sydney last year and he rode him again at Cambridge the other day and said he felt as good, if not better this time around," Marsh said. Last seen finishing eighth in the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes in December, Chocante had embarked on a successful Australian campaign in the spring where he was placed behind champion mare Winx in the Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and Foundry in the Gr1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in Sydney. The son of Shocking is now set for a return to the Queensland winter carnival where he won last year's Gr2 Brisbane Cup (2200m). "He's going to run in the open handicap over 1400m on Saturday and then he'll go over to Brisbane," Marsh said. "He's coming up really well and while we wouldn't be expecting him to win at Te Aroha, he'll give a little bit of cheek at some stage of the race." Chocante will open his Australian campaign in the Listed Tails Stakes (1600m) at Doomben on 21 April. His primary target is the Gr1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on 19 May.
Talented Kiwi stayer Chocante (Shocking-Strictly Maternal, by O'Reilly) will be set for a two-start weight-for-age campaign in the summer, reports NZ Racing Desk. The son of Shocking has returned to the Cambridge stable of trainer Stephen Marsh, who has set Group One targets at different ends of the island for the five-year-old. Chocante will open his summer campaign in the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on 9 December, ahead of the Gr1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. "If he wins or goes very well in the Zabeel, which is his main goal, then we might take him back to Sydney in the autumn," Marsh said. Chocante, a winner of the last season's Gr2 Brisbane Cup & Gr3 Counties Cup, raced creditably in Sydney during the autumn, finishing third behind champion mare Winx in the Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and third in the Gr1 Metropolitan (2400m) behind Foundry.
Trainer Stephen Marsh says he expects Chocante (Shocking) to be highly competitive when he contests the St Leger Stakes (2600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday. The talented Kiwi stayer showed he was on track for a start in the Melbourne Cup next month when finishing an excellent third behind Foundry in the Gr1 Metropolitan (2400m) two weeks ago. "He keeps improving with each run and the step up to 2600m will be ideal for him. We're very happy with him and a shower of rain would be perfect," Marsh told NZ Racing Desk. "As long as he runs well, we will definitely be going to Melbourne and then we would look at the options before the Cup." Marsh added: "He's 28th in order of entry at the moment and, going by past years at this stage, we'd be looking comfortable to get a start. But we'll wait and see and get Saturday out of the way first."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, former Coolmore shuttler and triple Gr1-winning champion European sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) celebrated an elite race success when 8YO Irish-bred gelding Foundry (Galileo-Sharp Lisa, by Dixieland Band) proved the superior stayer when scoring a tough win in the $750,000 Gr1 The Metropolitan (2400m) for 3YO+, defeating Big Duke & Chocante. Owned by Lloyd Williams and formerly trained by Ballydoyle master Aidan O'Brien, Foundry improved his record to 3 wins and 6 placings (including the Gr2 VRC Blamey Stakes & Gr2 Great Voltigeur Stakes) from 16 starts for $670,509 in earnings. Foundry holds entries in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
Talented New Zealand stayer Chocante will have a change of rider at Randwick on Saturday, reports NZ Racing Desk. The son of Shocking will be partnered by Blake Shinn in the Gr3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) and trainer Stephen Marsh is hoping the top Sydney jockey will also be available to ride the 5YO in the Gr1 The Metropolitan (2400m) on 30 September. A winner of the Gr2 Brisbane Cup in the winter, Chocante resumed with an excellent third (beaten 4.8 lengths) behind champion mare Winx in the Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on 2 September. Chocante's primary spring target is the $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday, 7 November.
While the headlines might read it was business as usual for Winx, the mighty daughter of Street Cry and Vegas Showgirl gave her supporters another heart-in-mouth experience before etching win 19 from her past 19 starts in the $252,000 Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick. On a beautiful early Spring day in front of an army of adoring fans 6YO mare Winx was forced to fight for her life, even more so than when slow to start in her penultimate run, after Josh Parr set sail for home a long way out on Red Excitement (Excites) who'd made all the running. The daring catch me if you can tactics almost paid off with Hugh Bowman doing his utmost to keep Winx balanced before cutting her loose with 150m to go to haul in the leader, with Chocante third. In the end it all looked pretty easy, however both Bowman and trainer Chris Waller acknowledged that this time around the situation was even more worrying than what they'd experienced in the Warwick Stakes, a race that left runner-up Foxplay flattened. The additional $144,250 pushed Winx's earnings to $13,183,425 as she sets off in her quest to make it 20 straight in the lead up to a possible Gr1 Cox Plate treble.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Cup winner Chocante (Shocking-Strictly Maternal, by O'Reilly) is primed for a bold first-up showing in tomorrow's Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick, reports NZ Racing Desk. While trainer Stephen Marsh acknowledges a second placing is the best possible result given the towering presence of champion mare Winx, he is thrilled with the progress of the 5YO who trialled well at Taupo earlier this month. "His trial was great. It was full of black-type horses and for him to do that was great," Pike said. Chocante will then run in the Gr3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) a fortnight later before ending his Sydney sojourn with a start in the Gr1 Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on 30 September. Chocante's primary spring target is the $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday, 7 November.
Three of trainer Stephen Marsh's stable stars will step up their spring preparations when they trial at Taupo on Friday, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Cambridge trainer intends to gallop Gr1 Thorndon Mile winner Thee Auld Floozie, Sofia Rosa, as well as Gr2 Brisbane Cup winner Chocante over 1100 metres. "My three are all coming up great and they will just be enjoying a trip away and a nice day out," Marsh said. "Thee Auld Floozie looks great and she's having a faultless preparation. She'll definitely run in the first two legs at Hawke's Bay and then we'll make a decision where we go." Marsh added: "Sofia Rosa will go for all three legs and we'll also be putting in a nomination for the Caulfield Cup." Meanwhile, Melbourne Cup hope Chocante will campaign exclusively in Australia. "He'll run in the Chelmsford Stakes on 2 September," Marsh said. "We know Winx will be there, but he couldn't win over a mile anyway and it's a nice race to kick off in." Chocante will then run in the Gr3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) a fortnight later before ending his Sydney sojourn with a start in the Gr1 Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on 30 September.
Canberra trainer Nick Olive has confirmed that Single Gaze will be aimed at the $3.15 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in the spring, reports racing.com. "She'll start off in the Memsie. That'll be a starting point for her," Olive said. "She'll do all her racing in Melbourne at this stage. The Makybe Diva [Gr1] and the Underwood [Gr1] maybe after that, and then the Caulfield Cup." A winner of the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes as a 3YO, Single Gaze (Not a Single Doubt-Redaluca's Gaze, by Intergaze) didn't race for ten months after she was involved in a heavy fall in the Australian Oaks at her following start. However, the now 5YO showed she was back to her best when recording stakes wins in the Listed Tails Handicap (1600m) and Gr2 PJ O'Shea Stakes (2200m) in Brisbane during the winter. Despite having only a short break since finishing third behind Chocante in the Gr2 Brisbane Cup in June, Olive insists Single Gaze thrives on a tight turnaround. "She holds her fitness very well off these short breaks, and it's when she races best when she's had these short breaks and she comes in with residual fitness is when she has her best campaigns to be honest," he said.
Talented Kiwi stayer Chocante will be campaigned exclusively in Australia as he chases Group One glory in the Melbourne Cup, reports NZ Racing Desk. Trainer Stephen Marsh has confirmed that the son of Shocking will be sent across the Tasman for the opening three runs of his preparation. "He could have a trial here, but Sydney will tell us where he is at and the tracks there are more likely to offer the sting out of them," Marsh said. "We would be worried about giving him too many starts on firm ground." Raced by Wellington friends Mark Freeman and David Price, the highly regarded Chocante has won 5 of his 16 starts highlighted by the Gr2 Brisbane Cup & Gr3 Counties Cup. "He's back in the stable now and we've thought all along that the ultimate goal would be the Melbourne Cup," Marsh said. Chocante will kick off his spring campaign in the weight-for-age Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on 2 September. He will then head to the Gr3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) a fortnight later, before ending his Sydney sojourn with a start in the Gr1 Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on 30 September.
The strength of New Zealand's 3YO crop is emphasised by the release of the finalists for the 2016-17 New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards, reports NZ Racing Desk. New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has announced the finalists for five of the six racehorse categories, with the finalists for the Jumper of the Year to be finalised later in the month. The five finalists for Three-Year-Old of the Year have all been classic winners this season and Bonneval and Gingernuts were Group One winners on both sides of the Tasman. Jon Snow was a dual Group One placegetter in New Zealand and a Group One and Group Two winner in Australia, while La Diosa was a Group One winner in New Zealand and a Group Two winner in Australia. All finalists are also eligible for the Horse of the Year award, which will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland, at the Langham Hotel, on Sunday, 10th September.
Brisbane Cup winner Chocante (Shocking-Strictly Maternal, by O'Reilly) has returned to New Zealand for a short break ahead of a spring carnival campaign in Melbourne, reports NZ Racing Desk. "The horse is home now and hopefully it's all guns blazing for Melbourne in the spring," trainer Stephen Marsh said. Raced by Wellington friends Mark Freeman and David Price, the highly regarded Chocante has now won 5 of his 16 starts highlighted by the Gr2 Brisbane Cup & Gr3 Counties Cup. "It was great to have the owners over there and we celebrated a bit. It was a huge thrill and a great race to win," Marsh said. "There are a few options for Chocante in the spring and we're certainly not ruling out heading to Sydney first. I will have a meeting with the owners and discuss whether we give him one run in New Zealand or head straight to Australia."
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."
The connections of rising Kiwi staying star Chocante are already making plans for a return trip across the Tasman, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 4YO has come a long way in a short time and trainer Stephen Marsh is keen to test the progressive son of Shocking in the best of company in the spring. "We would like to be in Melbourne in the spring for some serious races," Marsh said. "It's not as if he's having a lot of racing this autumn and he can be on a direct flight back from Brisbane and he won't need a long time out in the paddock." Chocante won four of his 12 starts in New Zealand, including the Gr3 Counties Cup, before embarking on a Queensland winter campaign and he impressed in his Australian debut when third in the Gr3 Chairman's Handicap. "I was rapt – I thought his run was outstanding," Marsh said. "He'd gone from 1400 to 1600 metres and then up to 2000 at Doomben." Chocante will step up to 2200 metres in the Gr3 Premier's Cup at Eagle Farm on Saturday before closing out his prep in the Gr2 Brisbane Cup at Eagle Farm on 10 June.
At Doomben racecourse in Brisbane, deceased dual Derby-winning shuttler & 6-time Gr1 victor High Chaparral (Sadler's Wells-Kasora, by Dashaan) added a Group success when 4YO entire Stampede (High Chaparral-Nothin' Leica Cat, by Tale of the Cat) continued his rapid progression through the staying ranks when winning the $125,000 Gr3 Chairman's Handicap (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating The Chairman & Chocante. Just eight days after claiming his maiden stakes win in the Listed Wagga Gold Cup, Stampede improved his record to 5 wins and 3 placings from 9 starts for $280,800 earnings. Stampede was sold to Gai Waterhouse, James Harron and Round Table Racing for $80,000 at the 2014 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Coolmore Stud.
Chocante will be ridden by leading Queensland jockey Jim Byrne when the Cambridge gelding makes his Australian debut at Doomben, reports NZ Racing Desk. A winner of the Gr3 Counties Cup (2100m) at Pukekohe in November, the 4YO will step out in the $125,000 Gr3 Chairman's Handicap over 2000 metres on Saturday. Trained by Stephen Marsh, Chocante was given a break after his Pukekohe success and was third when resuming at Te Rapa before finishing a close seventh in the Gr2 Easter Stakes at Ellerslie. Raced by his breeders Mark Freeman and David Price, Chocante is by Melbourne Cup winner Shocking from the O'Reilly mare Strictly Maternal and has hitherto shown plenty of staying potential winning 4 of his 12 starts.
Former star French galloper Vadamos (Monsun-Celebre Vadala, by Peintre Celebre) heads Rich Hill Stud’s 2017 stallion roster with the Gr1 Prix du Moulin winner to stand at an introductory fee of $15,000 + GST, reports NZ Racing Desk. Melbourne Cup winner Shocking will stand at $12,500 + GST. Shocking is already the sire of 10 stakes performers, including first-crop Group winners Fanatic (Gr1 New Zealand Oaks), The Hassler (Gr2 ARC Championship Stakes) and Chocante (Gr3 Counties Cup). Thorn Park’s five-time Gr1-winning son Jimmy Choux – the champion New Zealand first season sire of 2015-16 - will stand at $7000 + GST, as will Proisir who is a son of Gr1-winning shuttler & former star Australian sprinter Choisir. Foundation stallion Pentire, who is New Zealand’s leading active sire of Gr1 winners with 15, will stand at $10,000 + GST.
Trainer Stephen Marsh believes Chocante's class will hold him in good stead when he resumes from a break in the Team Wealleans 1400 at Te Rapa on Saturday, reports NZ Racing Desk. "He came back a lot stronger this time in. He was a young, immature stayer in the spring, but still did a good job," Marsh said. The lightly raced Chocante, whose primary autumn target is the Gr2 Easter Stakes, hasn't raced since he produced an outstanding performance off a wide run to win the Gr3 Counties Cup in November. Raced by his breeders Mark Freeman and David Price, Chocante is by Melbourne Cup winner Shocking from the O'Reilly mare Strictly Maternal and has won 4 of his 10 starts to date.
Stephen Marsh believes Chocante is capable of adding a feature mile to his burgeoning record, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Cambridge trainer has already bagged the Gr3 Counties Cup over 2100 metres with the lightly-tried stayer, who has since been freshened with a shorter target in mind. "I'm rapt with him, he's coming up really well," Marsh said. "He'll kick off again on Breeders' Stakes Day at Te Aroha in the open 1400 and then we're going to run him in the Easter Stakes." The Gr2 Easter Stakes (1600m) will be run at Ellerslie on 22 April. The winner of four of his 10 starts, Chocante may then head further afield later in the year. "He's a really progressive horse and the Queensland carnival is certainly on the radar," Marsh said. He added: "He's always looked like a top cups horse in the making, he's very progressive with a very bright future." A son of Shocking raced by his breeders Mark Freeman and David Price, Chocante had earlier been tagged for a possible Sydney campaign before a minor leg issue halted those plans.
Highly promising Kiwi stayer Chocante has returned to Stephen Marsh's Cambridge stable, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 4YO son of Shocking has been on the easy list since he overcame a three wide passage without cover to win the Gr3 Counties Cup at Pukekohe in November. "He had a couple of minor leg problems and we didn't want to rush him back," Marsh said. "Ultimately, we're looking at getting him to Sydney in the autumn." Chocante (Shocking-Strictly Maternal, by O'Reilly) has won 4 of his 10 starts for nearly NZ$100,000 in prize money.
Meanwhile, Chocante's stable-mate and last season's Australian Oaks winner Sofia Rosa (Makfi-Bislieri, by Encosta de Lago) will be aimed at the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney in the autumn. "She'll kick off in the NRM Sprint [Gr1] in February and the obvious goal for her would be the Queen Elizabeth Stakes," trainer Stephen Marsh told NZ Racing Desk. "As long as she comes up well that's the race to have a crack at. She never came up at all in the spring, but she looks fantastic now." The $4 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) is the showpiece event of The Championships in Sydney and will be run at Royal Randwick on 8 April.
Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh has a long-term plan that includes an Australian campaign for rising staying star Chocante, reports NZ Racing Desk. Marsh has been far from surprised by the rapid progress of the 4YO, who won't be over-taxed through the summer. "He's always looked like a top cups horse in the making, he's very progressive with a very bright future," Marsh said. "We'll look after him and he'll probably only have a couple more runs before we give him a break and we could well be looking at Sydney in the autumn." A son of Shocking, Chocante broke his maiden as a 3YO in April and following further successes in the spring at Matamata and Te Rapa he was an impressive last-start winner of the Gr3 Counties Cup. "The Manawatu Cup will be his next start and I'm pretty relaxed about things after Saturday. I'll wait and see how he comes through Awapuni and maybe look at the City of Auckland Cup," Marsh said. Chocante (Shocking-Strictly Maternal, by O'Reilly) has now won 4 of his 10 starts for nearly NZ$100,000 in prize money.
At Pukekohe in New Zealand, Rich Hill Stud's Melbourne Cup winning stallion Shocking (Street Cry-Maria di Castiglia, by Danehill) added a Group success when 4YO gelding Chocante (Shocking-Strictly Maternal, by O'Reilly) scored by 1.25 lengths for trainer Stephen Marsh in the NZ$100,000 Gr3 Counties Cup (2100m) for 3YO+, over 6YO mare El Pistola (El Hermano-Classic Shot, by Zabeel) & 6YO Irish-bred mare Jiayuguan (Teofilo-Ponte Vechio, by American Post). This was the maiden stakes victory for Chocante who improved his record to 4 wins and 4 placings from 10 starts for NZ$97,410 earnings. Such is the regard in which Marsh holds Chocante that he earmarked the Gr1 Auckland Cup as a potential future target. "He's a very progressive horse with a very bright future," trainer Stephen Marsh told NZ Racing Desk. "He's nominated for the City of Auckland Cup and the Auckland Cup in March - he's another winner for Shocking, they're really coming into their own now."