New Zealand trainers Emma-Lee and David Browne are gearing up for another assault on Melbourne after a successful spring campaign last year.
David spent a significant period based at Cranbourne over the spring and prepared six winners during his stay from mid-August through until mid-November.
The partnership hopes to return with Elephant (NZ) and Rhinoceros (NZ) for the autumn, two of the team in Melbourne for the spring, with the former potentially heading towards the $5 All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 19.
Elephant is heading back to Melbourne for the autumn, picture Racing Photos
A break over summer has done Elephant (NZ) the world of good according to David Browne who said the gelding was bulkier and stronger this time around. Browne said plans were to kick off on February 12, either in a 1400m weight-for-age race at Te Rapa or in the Group 1 C F Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
“Even though he’s a five-year-old, last spring was his first decent campaign,” Browne told RSN. “It took him a while to adjust to being started a bit more often, but I think it’s really changed him and he’s a lot more rounded racehorse now than he was 12 months ago.
“We gave him a quiet trial at Matamata the other day and he’s going to have another quiet trial next Friday at Ellerslie. We’re keeping it a little casual and assessing how he comes up as well as the options in front of us.”
With New Zealanders able to vote on the make-up of this year’s All-Star Mile, Browne is hoping a large contingent of fellow Kiwis will vote for their stable star.
Browne hopes to be back in Melbourne during the autumn with his wife and children, but that will be dependent on whether New Zealand authorities will open the border to international travellers. “We’re just hoping to hear how the border will be in the next few months,” Browne said.
Rhinoceros (NZ), who was successful three times during his Melbourne stint, kicks-off his campaign over 1200m at Ellerslie on Saturday.