The New Zealand Herald
Second best will do in A$4m race
Consensus will take the $750k on offer to follow Winx past post on Saturday
Spoiling Winx’s party at Randwick on Saturday is the last thing on Stephen McKee’s mind. The Ardmore trainer will be more than happy for his six-year-old Consensus to play a supporting role behind the wonder mare in the A$4 million Gr.1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
“I don’t see it as running against Winx, I see it as the A$755,000 for second for a start,” McKee said.
“Gailo Chop and all the other good ones will be there, but the breakdown of prize-money is great and the track should be good, which will suit our mare.”
Consensus has won eight races, including the Gr 1. Zabeel Classic (2000m) and she finished runner-up in the Gr.1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic (1600m) before heading to Sydney.
“She’s got a lot of black type so she’s really got nothing left to prove at home,” McKee said.
The daughter of Postponed finished a respectable fourth in the Gr.1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in her first Australian appearance.
“She went well on a drying track that got a bit sticky, which meant she couldn’t accelerate and she plugged away,” McKee said.
“She came through the race well and she had a nice hit-out this morning with Jason Collett on board.”
The expatriate New Zealand jockey rode Consensus in the Ranvet and he has the mount again in the Queen Elizabeth.
“This race fits in well for the mare before she goes to Brisbane,” McKee said.
Consensus will run in the Gr.2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on May 5 as a lead in to the Gr.1 Doomben Cup (2000m) a fortnight later.
After drawing the outside gate yesterday, Winx drifted briefly to $1.18 before returning to $1.15.
She’s A Treasure will add further quality to the New Zealand assault on this weekend’s A$1m Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.
Trainer Tony Pike took enough positives out of her Australian debut to confirm her a starter in the classic alongside Savvy Coup, Danzdanzdance and Contessa Vanessa.
She’s A Treasure finished sixth in the Gr.3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) last Saturday in her first start since a luckless unplaced run in the Gr.3 Lowland Stakes (2100m). A foot abscess then ruled her out of the Gr 1. New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
“She was very fresh, it was her first run for five weeks and she raced a bit keenly and she’s definitely improved,” Pike said.
“Her sectionals out of the race were very, very good. She didn’t have a lot of luck from a wide gate and got further back then we had hoped, but she closed off well.
“Obviously, the Oaks will be a stronger race and hopefully she can get a better draw — we know she’ll see out the mile and a-half.”
Damian Lane partnered the Mastercraftsman three-year-old, who races as Treasure at home, in the Adrian Knox and he will retain the Oaks ride.
Meanwhile, Pike has a strong hand to play in today’s NZ Bloodstock Insurance Pearl Series Race (1150m) at the Te Awamutu meeting with Sacredvista, Ujjayyi and Walkin’ By.
“Sacredvista is starting to put it all together now, she’s been a bit soft at the end of her races but she was strong on the line the other day,” he said. “Walkin’ By is going well, although from her draw she may find 1150m around Waipa a bit tough and Ujjayyi will improve a lot with her run at Avondale.”
Expatriate New Zealand trainer John Sargent fancies his chances of further classic success at Randwick. He won the 2012 Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) with Quintessential, the Gr.1 VRC Oaks ( 2400m) with Kirramosa a year later and in 2015 he produced Gust Of Wind to win the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m), a race he has Luvaluva in prime order for on Saturday.
The Kiwi-bred daughter of Mastercraftsman produced an impressive final trial when she carried 60kg to win the Gr.3 Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) last weekend.
Topweight Almandin has drawn barrier five in the Sydney Cup for owner Lloyd Williams and jockey Damien Oliver.
The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner is the favourite for the A$2m staying feature over 3200 metres at Randwick on Saturday.
Who Shot Thebarman will line up in the Cup for the fifth time.
New Zealander Sir Charles Road, winner of Saturday’s Chairman’s Handicap, has been the noticeable market mover and is in to $7.