Racing: Vance hopes to farewell Castlzeberg on high note

By Mike Dillon

When it's said Bobby and Jenny Vance will lose Castlzeberg immediately after tomorrow's $750,000 TV3 Derby at Ellerslie, take that literally.

Almost exactly 24 hours after the talented 3-year-old hits the finish line in New Zealand's most famous classic, he will be landing in Australia and his new home in Danny O'Brien's Melbourne stable.

Victory tomorrow will be a win-win situation for Bob Vance, who shares the Castlzeberg ownership with breeder Wayne Larsen.

The partners struck a deal with Melbourne syndicators OTI, which takes over total ownership of the horse after the Derby.

OTI has a leased racing share with Vance and Larsen for tomorrow, the details of which are not for publication.

Castlzeberg is booked to fly to Melbourne early Sunday afternoon.

The Castledale youngster goes into the Derby off the back of a gallant half-length second to Valbuena in the Avondale Guineas at Ellerslie two weeks ago.

"He's done fabulously well since that race," said Bob Vance yesterday.

"He went into the race a fraction below full fitness, because it was impossible to keep him at top for the Waikato Guineas (which he won), the Avondale Guineas then the Derby.

"With only 13 days between the Avondale Guineas and the Derby, the sensible thing was to let natural improvement bring him to his best and it has."

Castlzeberg is a speedy horse, but anyone who doubts his stamina, needs to look again at that Avondale Guineas electronic image.

Outside of Habibi it was probably the best staying effort in that race.

"He didn't get it easy," said Vance.

"He had a horse outside him half a length back early then at the 1000m a horse three wide had to go forward, but when it did it tried to take the front of my bloke."

Valbuena had a beautiful run up the rail to the home turn and dashed at Castlzeberg quickly at the 220m in the centre of the track.

Valbuena probably always had Castlzeberg covered, but the other horse fought back bravely, considering Vance believes he was one race short of full fitness.

"I can honestly say I've never had a horse in better condition going into a race," said Vance.

The roughly mid-field draw at No 11 will allow Opie Bosson the opportunity to cruise Castlzeberg over in front of the field to the rail without the possibility of being crossed had he drawn either of the three inside gates.

- NZ Herald

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