While on face value three-year-old gelding Mighty Connor didn’t have an overly successful three-year-old campaign, trainer Jacob McKay believes the son of Sebring can breakthrough at stakes level in the coming season.
McKay purchased Mighty Connor out of Little Avondale Stud’s 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale draft for $40,000 and he has taken a little longer to mature than initially thought.
“I bought him thinking that he would be a two-year-old,” McKay said. “He is only a small horse, so it was a pretty big effort to get up over ground and compete against the older horses as well when he won at Te Rapa (over 2200m).
“I was probably a bit tough on him. We threw him in the deep end a few times for some of those staying races with black-type.
“I still think that at some point he is going to be good enough to win a stakes race. He has just been quite immature.”
Mighty Connor has returned to McKay’s Matamata barn after spelling since his unplaced run in the Gr.2 Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie in April.
“He has had a nice, long spell and is back in work now and we will wait for the better tracks in the spring time for him,” he said.
Meanwhile, stablemate Mr Universe is being set for loftier targets after showing signs of improvement towards the end of his three-year-old preparation.
“What he did towards the end of the season I think showed a bit of his ability. Even though he was only in rating races, his closing sectionals were better than the Group sprints that were on the same day,” McKay said.
“That was the case down in Palmerston North and up at Ellerslie, so he definitely has got the ability there.
“He is still a colt, so he is going to have to be getting some black-type pretty soon to warrant staying a colt. I think he has got the ability there, he’s just got to get it right on the day.
“If he can come up good enough I’d like to get to something like a Railway (Gr.1, 1200m) or Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m) or something like that with him, but there is a bit of water to pass under the bridge and he has got to come up good enough.
“Long-term for next season either of those two races would be likely targets for him.”– NZ Racing Desk