After conquering Trentham again Michael Pitman has set his sights on the world stage.

And not just with surprise Telegraph defender Enzo's Lad.

Pitman and his son Matthew ventured north from their Riccarton base and not only won the $250,000 super sprint on Saturday but also finished with a share of third, Sensei dead heating with Signify as the southerners dominated the race for the third year running.

Not that it was a comfortable watch for Pitman, glued to the television at the Gore races, waiting for seven minutes before judge Dick Hunt confirmed the nail-biting finish to the group one.

Advertisement

For much of the last 400m of the race it looked like Enzo's Lad was going to wear down Ferrando as he did last season but the leader wouldn't buckle and in the end it took all of jockey Michael McNab's skill to make it back to back Telegraphs for the big southern sprinter.

"I couldn't tell if he had got there and to be honest I would have been happy with a dead heat," admits Pitman.

"With any other horse I wouldn't have been but because Ferrando is Rogey's [Graeme Rogerson] horse I would have settled for a dead heat.

"Rogey and I have been mates for 30 years and talk almost every day."

One of those conversations was on Friday when Pitman joked to his old mate that Rogerson's pair of Gift Of Power and Ferrando would set the race up nicely for Enzo's Lad as he could sit just off the speed and grab them late.

Those who believed the pinpoint-accurate prediction could have got $50 with the bookies on Friday, still far less than the $74 Enzo's Lad paid when he won his first Telegraph.

With victory comes a problem though and Pitman was up to midnight on Saturday finding a solution.

Michael Pitman.
Michael Pitman.

For all his Aussie-bred muscle and size Enzo's Lad is now all but weighted out of our best sprint races so his next major target is an awfully long way from his southern home.

Advertisement

"I am going to set him for the big international race in Hong Kong in April," says Pitman of the Chairman's Sprint on April 28.

"I was speaking to Mark Player, who works with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, at midnight on Saturday night and he says he is going to push for us to get an invite. I'd love to go and so would the owners. To go to an international race and represent the country would be very special.

"My family and I have won close to 1800 races but that would be something next level." Enzo's Lad isn't the only sprinter Pitman has international aspirations with, because he believes the six-year-old isn't even his fastest speed machine.

"No insult to him but with a better run Sensei would have won, he is the better horse," he says matter-of-factly.

So he is going to take him to Caulfield in Victoria for the Oakleigh Plate on February 23. "I think he is good enough to deserve a crack at the good Aussie races and he has a stallion's pedigree [half brother to stallion Rothesay]. So we will go to Aussie first with him and then Hong Kong with the big horse."

Days like Saturday help Pitman through his well-publicised battle with cancer but they still take their toll. "Winning is the greatest treatment in the world," he says.

"But I am buggered now. I am in bed because when I get tired these days I get really tired," he said mid-afternoon yesterday.

But that fight against the great evil of cancer and the 32 pills Pitman has to take every day doesn't dull Pitman's enthusiasm for the travels ahead and the most important challenge of his training career. "I want to train 2000 winners, that is the big one for me. The only other thoroughbred trainer to do it here is Rogey and I want to be the second one. So I don't care how crook I get, I will be staying alive long enough to achieve that."