There has been a change of plans for Group One winner Consensus.
The Stephen McKee-trained runner was set to head to Sydney to line-up in the Gr.1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday, but the wet weather forecast has put a halt to those plans.
Instead, the seven-year-old mare will travel to Melbourne for a hit-and-run mission in the aptly named Gr.2 Sunline Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
“Sydney is just too wet,” McKee said. “We were going for the Ranvet. We ran fourth on a heavy track last year, but I think the track is going to at least be as wet again this year.
“We decided we needed to race somewhere and we found this one in Melbourne, so we are going there instead.
“It’s only for the one race. We will run on Friday night and then we will decide on whether we might head up to Sydney and wait for the tracks to dry up, or we might come home and may wait to go to Brisbane later.
“It probably depends now on how she goes on Friday night.”
McKee is wary of his opposition on Friday and believes there needs to be genuine pace in the race in order to suit his mare.
“A tough mile at Moonee Valley is good for us because it does suit horses who like to go a little bit further, like we do,” he said.
“Two of the main ones to note are I Am A Star and Spanish Reef. They have won the race the last two years.
“They will be the two hard ones to beat. Naantali’s form is pretty strong as well.”
Expat New Zealand jockey Michael Walker will be aboard on Friday night and McKee said it would be great to win the race named after his superstar racemare, Sunline.
“We didn’t look at the race because of that, it just happened to be that name,” he said.
“It would really make a good trip if we could win that sort of race, I haven’t had a runner in it before, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, fellow stable Group One winner Hasahalo could join Consensus in Australia.
The Savabeel four-year-old pleased her trainer when resuming in the Gr.3 Waikato Stud Plate (1200m) after a year away from the races.
McKee will line-up Hasahalo in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1300m) at Tauranga on Saturday and a decision on her autumn path will be made after that run.
“Hasahalo is in at Tauranga on Saturday,” McKee said. “She will carry a big weight because she is in a rating 82 fillies and mares race.
“But she has got to race somewhere and it looks like the weather at Tauranga is going to be okay now. We will get a bit of a guide on where we will go with her after Saturday.
“She went really well first up.”
McKee said the weather will also be a major deciding factor as to whether he heads to Sydney to contest the Gr.1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m) with his charge.
“She is really bound by the weather, she doesn’t go on a dead track hardly, so we will get through Saturday and work out a plan from there,” he said.
“She is nominated in Sydney. She has done nothing for a whole year, so if the weather is good in Brisbane we could look at going there as well.” – NZ Racing Desk