New Zealand news briefs

Art De Triomphe taking on the boys

Trainer Andrew Carston will get a fair idea of whether he should press on to the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) next month with Art De Triomphe after she takes on the boys this weekend.

“We will be a lot wiser on Saturday afternoon as to how we fit in with the boys, but the 1000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) is still our number one target,” Carston said.

The in-form filly will contest the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton on Saturday where she will be met by a strong line-up, headed by Group One performer I Wish I Win.

“I am really happy with my filly but it is definitely a step up this week. I Wish I Win is a Group One performer so he has got to be a big chance,” Carston said.

I Wish I Win takes a strong form line into the race, having finished runner-up in the Gr.3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) and Listed El Roca – Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) in his two starts this preparation, but Art De Triomphe has been equally as impressive.

The daughter of Vadamos has won both of her starts this spring, including her first stakes victory in the Listed Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton last month.

“She has come through it in really good order,” Carston said. 

“I have had four weeks just to keep her ticking over. She is a filly who doesn’t take a lot of work but her work on the course proper at Riccarton on Tuesday was outstanding, so I am really happy with where we are at.

“She steps ups to 1400m this week and I don’t think the little bit of rain around is going to affect her too much.”

Carston is also looking forward to lining up Group performer Milford Sound in the Midlands Nutritional (1400m) with an eye towards the Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) next month.

It will be the Ocean Park gelding’s second-up run after beating just one runner home over 1400m at Riccarton earlier this month.

“I couldn’t be any happier with Milford Sound, his work has been outstanding,” Carston said.

“He had no luck first-up but he has come through it well. He drops back to 74 grade and this will give us a line as to whether we head to the Coupland’s Mile or not. 

“I can’t fault the horse, I expect a big run.”

Milford Sound will be joined in the race by stablemates Hee’s Our Secret and Caitlyn Jay.

“Both of them are going well and they both ran well for second at Ashburton. It is quite a strong race but they are going well and deserve their place,” Carston said.

Carston will have a strong representation at Ashburton on Saturday and believes Dettifoss and The Garrison in the Valachi Downs (1400m) and Shock Prospect in the Rainers Irrigation (1400m) are top chances.

“I think Dettifoss is above average. He has had a little freshen-up and loves a little bit of rain around,” Carston said

“The Garrison is running well and I think Shock Prospect is not far off winning a race.” 

First Group One tilt for Cameron

Cambridge trainer Catherine Cameron is looking forward to having her first Group One runner at Hastings on Saturday, but unfortunately she won’t be able to be trackside to experience it.

The Government announced on Wednesday afternoon that parts of the Waikato, including Cambridge, will remain in COVID-19 Alert Level Three for a further five days, meaning Cameron cannot accompany her horses south to Hawke’s Bay this weekend.

Cameron will have two runners compete at Hastings on Saturday, including Cheval Prometteur in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) and Solid Impact in the Hastings – Heart of Hawke’s Bay 1400.

“This will be my first start in a Group One, it is very exciting,” Cameron said. 

“It would have been nice to be there, but Sue Thompson has been organised to look after him and the other horse, so he is in good hands.”

It’s been a long road to the Group One feature with the Declaration Of War gelding, who initially came into Cameron’s care after his Hong Kong career was cut short following a knee injury.

He subsequently underwent rehab under the guidance of Cameron and made an immediate impression on the track in New Zealand, winning two and placing in three of his first five starts.

He suffered a stress fracture in a cannon bone when preparing for the Gr.3 Jarden Stakes (2000m) last year and underwent another round of rehab prior to his raceday return in June.

“He had four months out and he rehabbed at Margaret Park again, which he did when he got back from Hong Kong,” Cameron said. “He was there for about six weeks on the treadmill, and he has been with us at Cambridge since April.”

The seven-year-old finished fifth in his first-up test over 1200m at Ruakaka in June before finishing runner-up over a mile at Te Rapa, and then winning over the same distance and track in August.

He has had two subsequent placings and Cameron is looking forward to stepping her charge up over a mile for the first time this weekend, where he will wear blinkers.

“He has been racing really consistently,” Cameron said. “It is the first time for us going further than a mile but he did win in England over ground and that is what he has always looked like he has wanted to do.

“Sam (Spratt, jockey) thought he should have gone past the other two (when finishing third last start over a mile at Te Rapa).

“We are putting blinkers on for the race this weekend, she just thought he was watching the others a little bit and ducking and diving. He dived on the line again, which is what you like to see when you are going to go further.”

Cameron has been pleased with the way Cheval Prometteur has been working in the lead-up to the weekend where he will jump from barrier three with jockey Jonathan Riddell aboard.

Riddell will be aiming to secure the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown after winning the first two legs – Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) and Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) – aboard the John Bary-trained Callsign Mav.

“He worked nice this morning and we are happy with the draw,” Cameron said. 

“Jonathan Riddell is on, so we were pleased to hear Callsign Mav got on a plane to Melbourne last night. Everything is going to plan at this stage.”

Cameron will also line-up promising four-year-old Solid Impact earlier on the card.

The son of Real Impact has made a pleasing start to his career, placing in his first two starts before winning his maiden over 1400m at Te Aroha a fortnight ago.

“He is a really nice horse and hopefully 1400m again isn’t too sharp for him,” Cameron said.

“He has gone really honest races every time. He is a lovely, honest horse. It is a strong field as you would expect for a $50,000 race.

“He deserves his chance to be there.” 

Wet forecast leads to Caulfield Cup tilt for Quick Thinker 

Connections of the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Quick Thinker were praying for a wet forecast ahead of the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Saturday and their wish has come true.

The Group One winner appreciates rain-affected going and his Cambridge conditioners have elected to chance their arm in the time-honored race after consulting with OTI Racing’s Terry Henderson.

“We were a little bit nervous to bring him down to Caulfield because the track can be very firm there,” Forsman told SENTrack.

“Given the forecast, we just have to hope that the weather people have got it right.

“He would need good rain the day before and the day of for him to come into his own, and there is the potential for that to happen.”

While the five-year-old entire’s biggest victories have come on heavy and soft tracks, including the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) and Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality (2600m), Forsman said he also needs things to go his way during the running.

“He is a horse that needs to be up on the pace, rolling along and doing his own thing,” Forsman said. 

“As soon as he gets a bit of a bump or you feel like he is being dictated to, he is a colt and doesn’t appreciate that.

“For him it is getting into a rhythm, being up on the pace and getting a clean run.”

Quick Thinker takes a mixed form line into Saturday, finishing runner-up in the Gr.3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) two starts back before finishing 14th in the Gr.1 Metropolitan (2400m) on a Good track at Randwick.

The Kiwi raider will give his stable a two-pronged attack in the Caulfield Cup alongside The Chosen One who finished third in last year’s running of the time-honoured race.

The Savabeel entire has followed a similar preparation and Forsman believes he is tracking better than this time last year after his runner-up result in the Gr.2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.

“Year in and year out he seems to be putting his hand up and steps up when the big races are on. He seems to have come back in great form this time in and I think he probably is going better this year,” Forsman said.

“Damian (Lane, jockey) was rapt with the run (Herbert Power). We were a bit concerned with it being the last race of the day and how firm the track would be and how that would affect his chances, but he sprinted off it brilliantly and he has come through it really well.

“It is the best he has raced and come through a race for a fair while.”

Meanwhile, back in New Zealand, Forsman is looking forward to giving Aegon a trial at Taupo on Thursday ahead of his trip to Sydney where he will contest the A$7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m).

Doubt was cast over his preparation towards the rich Sydney feature when he suffered a bleeding incident in the Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), however, Forsman said he has made pleasing progress since then.

“The plan is to take him to Taupo for a trial and it will be a good day out for him. He needs a good trip away and hit-out,” said Forsman, who part-owns the son of Sacred Falls.

“Assuming he comes through that well then it is a couple of weeks onto the Golden Eagle.

“It is has been the target the whole preparation. It was just a shame we struck a hiccup on the way, but I see no reason since he has been back in New Zealand post his race at Flemington not to press on with those plans.”