Big Guns Bolster NZ Prospects

Date: 12 Apr 2021

Big Guns Bolster NZ Prospects


New Zealand Herald's Michael Guerin reports:


Reinforcements are on the way to Sydney to try and turn around a largely luckless Kiwi assault on their richest racing carnival.

So powerful are the latecomers, it wouldn't surprise to see three Kiwi-trained favourites on the second day of The Championships at Randwick on Saturday.

The Sydney carnival has seen only a couple of major New Zealand winners so far, with stablemates Aegon in the A$400,000 Hobartville Stakes on February 20 and Quick Thinker winning the A$300,000 Chairman's at Randwick on Saturday the bright spots from a fruitless autumn that promised so much.

But NZ Oaks winner Amarelinha and emerging sprint star Entriviere get on a plane to Sydney today, both in ideal shape after strong work at Matamata yesterday.

"We are very happy with both, they are exactly where they need to be," said trainer Jamie Richards.

Amarelinha could start favourite in the A$1 million ATC Oaks, with her chances improving with every hour of sunshine between now and Saturday, of which there are forecast to be plenty.

She has never been beaten by a filly and got as long as $6 with Australian bookies over the weekend, with some concerns she wouldn't make the trip if the track looked likely to be wet.

Once she lands in Australia today and if the weather stays fine, she should head the market by Saturday, especially after her trial at Ellerslie last Tuesday suggested she has taken no harm from her Oaks win and trip to Trentham.

Opie Bosson will head across to ride her and Richards is making his first trip to Australia for over a year, both men knowing if all goes well, they can return next Monday without needing to quarantine as the new transtasman bubble comes into play.

Entriviere, who has been sensational in the sprinting ranks at Ellerslie, looks to have found a perfect race for her Australian debut in the Group 2 A$300,000 Sapphire Stakes, in which James McDonald will ride her.

The Sapphire Stakes sees mares penalised a lot more for Group 1 and 2 victories, whereas Entriviere has won only at Group 3 level (twice), which means she will come in only 1.5kg above the weight-for-age base.

Waiting for them in Sydney will be stablemate Probabeel, who looks certain to be a huge shortener in the market for the A$1 million Coolmore Legacy this Saturday if the track gets back to good.

She is perfectly suited by the mares-only weight-for-age mile and has been heavily backed in far stronger open weight-for-age races this campaign.

Any doubts over how she had come through her All-Star Mile failure on a wet track were allayed when she trialled brilliantly last Thursday, with her Coolmore chances aided by the fact some of the bigger names in the early market for the race aren't starting.

She was $4 in Australia last night but could start closer to $2.

The Matamata mares will headline the New Zealand team for Saturday, with the Baker-Forsman pair of Quick Thinker and The Chosen One the only Kiwis left in the Sydney Cup.

Both Concert Hall and Charles Road performed so far below their best in the Chairman's won by Quick Thinker on Saturday, they will miss the Cup and return home, with co-trainer Robert Wellwood suspecting Concert Hall may have suffered a heart fibrillation.

"We had her checked after the race and her heart seemed fine but clearly something went wrong in the race because she's too genuine to perform like that," said Wellwood.

Also on the plane home and off to the spelling paddock will be Derby runners Rocket Spade and The Frontman, as well as Aegon, who was luckless in the Doncaster.


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