Some insight from Te Akau Racings leading Singapore trainer Mark Walker has added further confidence in the camp as Gingernuts prepares to take on the Livamol Classic and Caulfield Cup.
Gingernuts is the raging hot favourite for tomorrows group one Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings after his last-start win in the Windsor Park Plate and the son of Iffraaj is poised to line up a fortnight later in the $A3m Caulfield Cup (2400m).
He finished an unlucky fifth in the first leg, the group one Tarzino Trophy, and his performance in the Windsor Park Plate has punters confident he can leave New Zealand in winning form.
Its the same path which Princess Coup first took 10 years ago and steering her in that direction was Walker, who was in charge of Te Akau Racings Matamata operation.
Walker has been keeping close tabs on the progress of Gingernuts, who first burst into the group one limelight when winning the New Zealand Derby over the Caulfield Cup distance last March.
Gingernuts then won the group one Rosehill Guineas before a solid fifth to Jon Snow in the ATC Australian Derby.
Mark was back here last week and he brought up Princess Coup running in all three legs at Hastings, said trainer Stephen Autridge said. All along we had been debating whether to stay here for all three with Gingernuts then go over or go over earlier.
He said Princess Coup got better with each one and not to worry about running Gingernuts in all three.
He said she should have won the Caulfield Cup and the next one, too.
The Melbourne Cup is also on the radar for Gingernuts, but Autridge points out it is not the priority.
The Caulfield Cup has always been the No1 aim and well make our minds up after that about the Melbourne Cup, he said.
As for the Livamol Classic build-up, Autridge couldnt be happier with Gingernuts. Hes never been better. Hes at the top of his game, he said.
Even the outside draw hasnt dampened Autridges confidence over his prospects.
Im happier that hes drawn out there than one, two or three, he said. From out there he can get back beyond midfield and even if he drops out to last I wont be worried.
Opie [Bosson] can go round them whenever he wants and not be dictated to as he would be if hed drawn in.
Bosson threw a scare into the Gingernuts camp when tossed off first-starter Owen Patrick (named after him) at Ruakaka on Wednesday. Owen Patrick was favourite and declared a late scratching.
It was a bit of a scare seeing Opie on the ground, but hes fine apart from a few bruises, Autridge said. He wouldnt want to miss this one.
Gingernuts is booked to be flown to Melbourne next Wednesday and its possible stablemate and race rival Chance To Dance could join him in Australia.
Hes been eliminated from the Caulfield Cup because he hadnt met the criteria for the last 18 months, but then soon after he won the Listed race at Counties. It was just too late, Autridge said. We could take a look at some of the country cups over there for him.
Hes an eight-year-old who has been around the world and hes so genuine. And, like Gingernuts, hes flying at the moment.
Autridge said he was pleasantly surprised by Chance To Dances fresh-up win in the Listed Karaka Classic (1600m) at Pukekohe.
I knew hed run a good race, but I didnt think hed go that good. Hed been sparring up with Gingernuts in work and hes still been working with him. Theres not much between them.
Autridge rates Chance To Dance (to be ridden by Leith Innes) more than just a second string in the Livamol Classic. If he got the run and Gingernuts didnt, he could beat him. Hes going that well, he said.
- NZ Racing Desk