Racing: Gingernuts set for crunch

Opie Bosson and Gingernuts will jump from gate 12 in the A$2m Australian Derby. Photo / Bradley Photography
Opie Bosson and Gingernuts will jump from gate 12 in the A$2m Australian Derby. Photo / Bradley Photography

Jamie Richards can't find any fault with Gingernuts as he chases a remarkable third group one win in a month at Randwick on Saturday.

With two down and one to go, the New Zealand Derby and Rosehill Guineas winner will be at the top of his game for the A$2m Australian Derby in Sydney.

"Everything has gone according to plan and the horse is super," says co-trainer Richards.

"He did a little bit of work on Saturday morning and this morning he worked over 1200m on the course proper at Randwick with one of Gai Waterhouse's horses.

"It gave him a good look around and he did all that was expected of him. He's not a big, strapping colt who needs a lot of work - he's more of an athletic type."

Gingernuts was dominant in the New Zealand Derby on good ground at Ellerslie before he coasted away with the Rosehill Guineas on heavy footing.

"The track on Saturday isn't going to worry us at all," said Richards, who trains the son of Iffraaj with Stephen Autridge.

"They might think he goes better on soft ground here, but he can go on anything."

The Randwick track had improved from a heavy8 on Monday into the soft range by Tuesday morning, but showers are predicted tomorrow.

Richards is more than familiar with Gingernuts' Derby rivals and he remains bullish about their three-year-old's prospects of another classic even after he drew barrier 12 of the 13 runners.

"I thought Jon Snow [barrier nine] was quite impressive last Saturday and he looks like he has improved and Prized Icon also ran very well and he will go in a very fit horse," Richards said.

"But our horse has been racing very well all the way through against good opposition and I couldn't be any happier with him."

Gingernuts is booked on a Monday flight home to New Zealand.

"He'll need a break and we'd like to set him for Melbourne in the spring," Richards said.

Meanwhile, the stable will chase the first leg of a transtasman group one double closer to home with four starters in the Sires' Produce at Awapuni.

Te Akau's Sires' contenders - Gold Fever, Melody Belle, Summer Monsoon and Swing Note - impressed when working on a slow track at Matamata yesterday morning.

"They all worked good this morning, so a slow track wouldn't scare us off [going to Awapuni]," trainer Stephen Autridge said.

Gold Fever and Melody Belle have already proved themselves in top company.

Gold Fever won the Matamata Breeders' Stakes before overcoming a rocky run to finish third in the group one Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie, while Melody Belle was a comfortable winner of the Karaka Million.

Melody Belle has not raced since the Karaka Million but won a trial on her home track last week.

"We think she's improved since the Million," Autridge said. "She wasn't quite right before the Sistema and we decided not to risk her but she was fantastic in her trial.

"She hasn't raced on a slow track but has done a fair bit of work in wet ground and has coped well."

Gold Fever was badly checked soon after the start of the Sistema and did well to finish just two lengths behind Summer Passage, who races in at Randwick on Saturday. "Her [Gold Fever] last two runs have suggested that 1400m shouldn't be a problem," Autridge said.

Summer Monsoon, a Stratum colt, has trialled since being runner-up to Summer Passage in listed company at Matamata. "He's on the improve and his work this morning was the best I've seen from him."

Swing Note, an Encosta De Lago filly, has been placed in each of her three starts. "She has justified a go at black type," Autridge said. "She's going to be better as a three-year-old but 1400m will suit."

Michael McNab will partner Melody Belle with Craig Grylls on Gold Fever, Jason Waddell on Summer Monsoon and Johnathan Parkes on Swing Note. Stable rider Opie Bosson will be in Sydney and Cameron Lammas is suspended.

- additional reporting: NZ Racing Desk

- NZ Herald

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