Ca­duceus lives up to name, so far

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport -

per­ma­nent place in har­ness rac­ing his­tory as an in­au­gu­ral New Zealand Trot­ting Hall of Fame in­ductee, along­side fel­low cham­pi­ons Cardi­gan Bay, Johnny Globe and High­land Fling.

The mod­ern-day thor­ough­bred has a long way to go to equal the deeds of his name­sake, but he leaves noth­ing to ques­tion with the start he’s made as the win­ner of his only two starts. Af­ter a cou­ple of ed­u­ca­tional tri­als, the 2-year-old geld­ing was sent to Waver­ley late last month for his first start and sur­prised just about ev­ery­one with a con­vinc­ing win.

‘‘Waver­ley was a bit of an af­ter­thought,’’ Paul Shailer said.

‘‘He had been com­ing along well enough and we de­cided to send him down as a trav­el­ling mate for our maiden run­ner, Vi­brant Moss.

‘‘She had the form and started the $1.50 favourite but could run only third and the 2-year-old came out and won re­ally well. We thought about see­ing how he pulled up and when he looked as if he was cop­ing we de­cided to see if he would go to an­other level.’’

That he cer­tainly did on the weekend, get­ting home hard from the rear in New Zealand’s only 1600m 2-year-old race to down the favourite As­prey for Shailer sta­ble rider – and Paul’s part­ner – Kelly My­ers.

‘‘He’ll go to the pad­dock now and we’ll bring him back with the spring 3-year-old races in mind,’’ Paul said.

‘‘He’s a horse that’s hard to get a line on, so what his po­ten­tial is we’re still not sure.

‘‘He’s got plenty of scope about him, though, and he’s re­laxed to the point of be­ing laid-back. He’s a very good doer, noth­ing fazes him, and there’s more than one di­men­sion to him the way he raced on the speed in his first start and then came from last on Satur­day.’’

Ca­duceus, by for­mer Cam­bridge Stud stal­lion Lucky Uni­corn, is owned by a group of Aus­tralians who the Shail­ers have never even met.

‘‘They’re clients of Brad­bury Park and I have Casey Dando to thank for send­ing them our way,’’ Paul said.

Shailer Rac­ing is based in one of the Mata­mata Rac­ing Club barns, from where 12 win­ners have been pre­pared this sea­son to go with 21 last sea­son.

‘‘We had some handy horses like Trep­i­da­tion and Fore­front putting to­gether a few wins but this sea­son it’s been more a mat­ter of de­vel­op­ing a bunch of mainly young horses.’’

Among those is Dream Run, a ju­ve­nile filly who won on de­but on her home track ear­lier this month and, like Ca­duceus, will be aimed at im­por­tant spring races.

Look­ing to the fu­ture, the Shail­ers also went shop­ping at the Karaka year­ling sales in Jan­uary and came home with two likely sorts, a filly by hot young sire Se­bring and a colt by an­other likely stal­lion across the Tas­man in Stryker.

‘‘They’re both very good types and we’re in the process of syn­di­cat­ing them, so if any­one out there is look­ing to get into a young horse, we’d be happy to hear from them,’’ Paul said.

The big-race ac­tion at the Syd­ney au­tumn car­ni­val shone fur­ther light on the lo­cal breed­ing scene, with vic­tory in the two Rand­wick fea­tures go­ing to lo­cal­lypro­duced horses Sa­cred Falls and Se­bring.

O’Reilly 4-year-old Sa­cred Falls came up roses for the sec­ond year run­ning as he stormed home from well back to claim the thick end of the A$3 mil­lion purse that went with the Don­caster Mile.

On top of his suc­cess in the same race last year and the New Zealand 2000 Guineas as a spring 3-year-old, Sa­cred Falls will be an­other qual­ity ad­di­tion to the Waikato Stud stal­lion ros­ter when, as ex­pected, he takes up du­ties there this spring.

‘‘We’ve got to fi­nalise a few things, but that’s the most likely sce­nario,’’ Garry Chittick said.

Chittick was on track for Satur­day’s big win and hopes to be back there this weekend when Sa­cred falls takes on an­other by O’Reilly, star race mare Silent Achiever, in the A$4m Queen El­iz­a­beth Stakes.

Cri­te­rion con­tin­ued the fan­tas­tic re­cent run by horses bred at Bland­ford Lodge when he added the A$2m Aus­tralian Derby to his win a fort­night ear­lier in the Rose­hill Guineas.

A son of the afore­men­tioned Se­bring, Cri­te­rion is owned by Bland­ford Lodge co-owner Sir Owen Glenn.

The Bland­ford Lodge brand will be car­ried this weekend by Sav­abeel filly Lu­cia Valentina, the favourite for the A$1m Aus­tralian Oaks fol­low­ing her win in last week’s Vin­ery Stud Stakes.

Fur­ther lo­cal in­ter­est at Rand­wick will cen­tre on Vi­adana as she bids to ex­tend her New Zealand form in the A$1m Queen of the Turf Stakes, and on star filly Bound­ing in the A$500,000 Royal Sov­er­eign Stakes.

By the time you read this page, New Zealand Derby win­ner Puc­cini will be back in his pad­dock at the McKay sta­ble af­ter a Syd­ney cam­paign dogged by wet tracks and other chal­lenges.

In his first start in the Rose­hill Guineas he faded af­ter be­ing im­pa­tiently rid­den, while last Satur­day he bat­tled bravely for fifth in the Aus­tralian Derby.

That ef­fort re­stored some of the aura that Puc­cini took with him to Syd­ney af­ter dom­i­nat­ing lo­cal ranks. He has now gone for a wellde­served spell..

Mile­stone: Cham­pagne Stakes win­ner Ca­duceus and co-trainer Kris Shailer.

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