Despite not managing to put a win on the board, members of the New Zealand contingent that launched their assault on the riches of the Australian spring racing carnivals in Sydney and Melbourne were happy with their showings on Saturday.
Te Akau Racing mentor Jamie Richards produced Te Akau Shark and Probabeel at Royal Randwick, with their second and fourth placings respectively delighting their trainer.
“I was very pleased with both their runs on a day where there was a bias towards those who were in or near the lead most of the day,” Richards said.
“Probabeel just got caught in a tricky spot in a small field. We had wanted her to make her challenge a little wider in the straight but circumstances saw her having to stay on the fence.
“We know that she is going to be better suited once she steps up in distance but I thought she fought on nicely and will take benefit from the run.
“She will head to the Tea Rose Stakes (Gr.2, 1400m) in a fortnight for her next run.”
The highly-regarded Te Akau Shark opened his Australian campaign with a fighting effort for second in the Gr.2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) and will now head straight into the Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) back at Randwick on October 5.
“He (Te Akau Shark) was very good as he was another that wasn’t suited by the up and in pattern of racing on the day,” Richards said.
“He had a horse laying all over him most of the way, which didn’t help, but I just liked the way he closed it off in the last piece to claim second.
“He is a horse that goes best on the fresh side so he will go straight into the Epsom in a month.”
Fresh from success with impressive three-year-old Long Jack, who made a winning Australian debut at Ballarat on Friday, co-trainer Murray Baker was also in a positive frame of mind as he outlined his thoughts on the performance of The Chosen One at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The four-year-old Savabeel entire was having his first run since winning the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick back in April and overcame a wide run throughout to finish a gritty fifth in the Gr.2 Feehan Stakes (1600m).
“I thought his run was very good as he was the only four-year-old in the race, up against the older horses and was caught out wide most of the way,” Baker said.
“He kept coming nicely in the run home when he had every excuse to chuck it away a little.
“Provided he comes through the race alright, I think we might head to the Underwood Stakes (Gr.1 1800m) for his next start.
“It’s a favourite race of mine as I’ve won it four times so it would be nice to make it five.”
Baker, who trains in partnership with Andrew Forsman, also advised that multiple Group One winner Madison County would make his campaign debut in the Gr.1 Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 21 while their Sydney-based three-year-olds Quick Thinker and Rhaegar would be seen next in the Gr.3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill on September 28.
Matamata trainer Lance O’Sullivan was also upbeat despite his Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) candidate Sir Charles Road finishing amongst the tail-enders in the Gr2. Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
“He never really got the rub of the green and had a pretty chequered path over the last 600m,” O’Sullivan said.
“It was his second run back this time and he looks a picture of health so we are expecting he will bounce back pretty quickly.
“He is looking for more ground so we will be stepping him up over further for his next start.” – NZ Racing Desk