Racing: Jimmy Choux on track for Australian trip

By Michael Guerin

John Bary is happy with the progress of stable star Jimmy Choux. Photo / Natalie Slade
John Bary is happy with the progress of stable star Jimmy Choux. Photo / Natalie Slade

John Bary can't wait for a race he believes he has no chance of winning.

But he still thinks next week's Easter Handicap at Ellerslie is the ideal launching pad for a bigger, stronger Jimmy Choux.

The reigning Horse of the Year will be having his first New Zealand start since October at Ellerslie on Saturday week and warmed up for the rich mile with a gallop between races at Awapuni on Saturday.

While he wasn't in the perfect position to time the gallop, trainer Bary says Jimmy Choux scooted over the last 600m of his 1000m hitout in around 34 seconds. "And he did it well, so I couldn't be happier," he said.

Bary says the gallop will have Jimmy Choux ready for Ellerslie next week, his first outing there since winning the Telecom Derby last season.

While he is adamant Jimmy Choux is bigger and stronger after his summer spell, he says the Easter Handicap is almost a mission impossible.

"We are going to get at least 60kg, maybe even up to 61kg," said Bary.

"You just don't win major races with that weight and he has never won fresh up for a new campaign.

"But this is about having him ready for the two group one races he is chasing in Sydney and Brisbane in the month after the Easter."

While Jimmy Choux has never won fresh-up that statistic is hardly a major negative when you delve further into what he has actually achieved in his first start each campaign.

This season, he chased Mufhasa home in the group one 1400m start to the Hasting Triple Crown. As a 3-year-old he was runner-up fresh in the Wanganui Guineas and he ran second on debut as a 2-year-old - to King's Rose.

But that equation becomes harder this time around because being a rising five-year-old stallion, Jimmy Choux is carrying plenty of condition.

"He is not fat, he is just a big strong boy these days and I don't mind that because it will help deeper into campaigns and he will handle the racing. But this is about having him ready for the two group one races he is chasing in Sydney and Brisbane in the month after the Easter," says Bary.

"But it does make winning fresh-up pretty unlikely. But this is about having him ready for the two group one races he is chasing in Sydney and Brisbane in the month after the Easter.

While there were rumours of possible retirement after his spring campaign last year, he isn't expected to be put to stud any time soon. "His main aim will be the Cox Plate again. But this is about having him ready for the two group one races he is chasing in Sydney and Brisbane in the month after the Easter," said Bary.

"I think it will be easier for him and I heading back to Melbourne because we have the experience under our belt now. I think we will both feel more comfortable this time around."

Not that Jimmy Choux will need to feel much more comfortable. It took a miracle ride from Craig Williams on Pinker Pinker to deny him the Cox Plate last season. As much as Bary craved that win, finishing second has probably helped him keep Jimmy Choux in training, with a Cox Plate win almost certainly having seen him retired to stud for this season.

Jimmy Choux's return to Ellerslie next week adds some glamour to what is shaping as one of the best Easter Handicaps in the past decade.

Veyron will be the second topweight while Awapuni winner Green Supreme looms as the lightweight danger now he has abandoned a staying career for shorter races.

"And we are expecting some of the best mares to back up too after Te Aroha this week," said Ellerslie racing boss Andrew Castles.

JIMMY'S BACK

* Horse of the Year Jimmy Choux returns to Ellerslie next week.
* He is expected to carry more than 60kg in the Easter Handicap.
* Trainer John Bary is thrilled with the 4-year-old, who heads to Australia after the Ellerslie race.

- NZ Herald

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