Australian Options for Kiwis

Date: 15 Mar 2021

Australian Options for Kiwis


New Zealand Herald's Michael Guerin reports:


The Golden Slipper may not be the perfect fit for juvenile flying machine Sword Of State but he could still find himself in Sydney this autumn.

Monday is D-day for the expensive colt, with Team Te Akau to make the final decision this afternoon whether he is flown to Sydney for Saturday's iconic freshman dash for cash at Rosehill.

But while Sword Of State is qualified for the Slipper after his effortless win in Saturday's Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie, it would surprise to see him trying the slipper on for size this week.

"We will trot him up in the morning and then have a pow wow on the phone around lunch time and the final decision will be David's [Ellis]," says trainer Jamie Richards.

Ellis would love to win a Slipper, especially with a colt who could rocket into the $20 million-$30 million price tag range with victory and he says the fact the race is just a week after last Saturday's win isn't a deal breaker.

"It would be with a lot of horses but he is such a good doing colt I think he could handle it," says Ellis.

"But I am probably 60-40 against going at this stage. But even if we don't go he could very well go to Sydney for the Sires' over there and even Brisbane in an option."

The desire for an Australian Group 1 is understandable as it would exponentially increase Sword Of State's stud value and that could see him miss the Sires' Produce at Awapuni on April 3, a race that looks at his mercy.

That could also change the pathway of stablemate On The Bubbles, who may not be as sharp as Sword Of State at the moment but appears to have most of the other juveniles covered.

If Sword Of State heads to Australia it would be tempting to keep On The Bubbles in work to win the Sires' Produce at Awapuni because Group 1 wins are not to be sneezed at and he could probably get away with it at 90 per cent.

The two speedfreak babies won't be the only stars at the centre of the team chat as goals will need to be set for Melody Belle, Avantage and Probabeel among others.

Melody Belle is almost certain to head to Australia for one more crack at Group 1 glory there but Richards is leaning toward keep Avantage here and maybe targeting the Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha, which could see her clash with Saturday's other outstanding winner Levante in a fitting finale to New Zealand's Group 1 season.

Probabeel was robbed of any real chance in the A$5m All Star Mile on Saturday when rain soaked The Valley and Richards says the favourite looked after herself.

"She just didn't handle it, which was a real shame," he offers.

"But at this stage she will stay over there and head to Sydney and, if the tracks stay dry, we will give her one more shot at a Group 1 this season."


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