Soldier ready to begin Australian campaign

He arrived in Australia on the same flight as star galloper Zaaki (GB), but fellow import Blue Soldier (USA) is taking a little longer to acclimatise to his new home. 

While Zaaki has already put his stamp on the local racing scene with thumping victories in the Doomben Cup and Q22 to head early W.S. Cox Plate markets, Blue Soldier will make a belated Sydney debut at Rosehill on Saturday. 

Annabel Neasham has Blue Soldier now ready for his first start in Australia

The four-year-old was slated to kick off at Randwick last weekend but trainer Annabel Neasham scratched him on race morning due to the heavy track. He will instead line up in the Quayclean Handicap (1300m) on Saturday. 

“We just have to hope he can adapt to the Australian way of things,” Neasham said. 

“Some of these imports such as Zaaki, they really adapt, and others don’t. 

“He was actually on the same flight as Zaaki over here, but he got gelded and that delayed matters a little bit.” 

Compounding the situation has been the fact Blue Soldier has met with rain-affected tracks in his five Australian barrier trials with each of his riders feeling he wasn’t entirely comfortable on the ground. 

“We keep striking wet tracks in trials and the jockeys keep saying he doesn’t feel like he loves that ground. So we’re just struggling to find even a trial track that is suitable,” Neasham said. 

“We haven’t got a real guide on him yet. He’s a horse that is going to need a few runs under his belt before we can see the best of him, but he is a nice, kind horse and a lovely horse to have in the stable. 

“If he can run up to his best he can be competitive in some races here.” 

A Listed Race winner overseas, Blue Soldier has not raced since finishing third over 1800m in Ireland in July last year. 

He will be one of two Rosehill runners for Neasham along with two-year-old Military Expert, who made an encouraging start to his career finishing runner-up to King Of Sparta on debut. 

Military Expert will get the chance to exact revenge on that youngster in the opening race.