Racing: Minaj appears razor sharp as stable pursues double

By Michael Guerin

Minaj had no problems handling the Ellerslie track during his workout yesterday. Photo / Richard Robinson
Minaj had no problems handling the Ellerslie track during his workout yesterday. Photo / Richard Robinson

Aussie filly Minaj is already one step closer to a Karaka Million win than her triumphant stablemate Ockham's Razor was at the same stage last season.

She looked very at home at near full speed during her Ellerslie orientation gallop yesterday.

Minaj is the only Australian-trained horse in Sunday's $1 million feature and galloped in superb style for travelling foreman Will Stewart.

She stayed on the right leg on the sometimes tricky home bend and cruised her last 600m of solid work in 34.6 seconds.

That was in contrast to Ockham's Razor, who wobbled his way around Ellerslie in work at the same stage last season only to come out and win our richest race a few days later.

Stewart said that tractability is one reason Minaj has made the trip home across the Tasman for the Million.

"She has the right attitude, which is a huge help," he told the Herald.

"Right from her first jump out we knew she had the ability to bring over here so it has always been the aim.

"But she wouldn't be here is she wasn't good enough and she is a natural runner, as you saw today."

Stewart said the hard Flemington track may have been behind Minaj's last-start fourth in a good form race but while Ellerslie has been baking in the Auckland heat, the track won't be a concern on Sunday.

"That track is perfect; she loved it."

Minaj was an impressive winner on her debut at Mornington and has settled in perfectly at Shaune Ritchie's stables. "Shaune and his team and Butch Castles from the club here have made the trip a lot easier for us, which is a huge help when you are chasing a $1 million race.

"But she is right where she needs to be at the moment."

The draw for the Karaka Million will be made today, with the TAB market expected tonight.

- NZ Herald

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