We have had people inquire at $1.3 million-$1.4 million type prices but we tell them we aren't interested at this stage.Rick Williams, Oaks Stud
Punters who want to take the skinny odds about Catalyst in the 2000 Guineas can at least rest assured the spring star intends being at Riccarton.
Because even after offers of around $1.4 million he isn't on the market and won't be any time soon.
The Clayton Chipperfield-trained gelding's reputation was huge heading into the $70,000 Cambridge Stud Breeders Stakes at Ruakaka on Saturday but in a magical 11.08 seconds he went from pretender to the new prince of New Zealand racing.
That is how long it took Catalyst to cover the final 200m of the group three after being snagged sideways by jockey Troy Harris to clear a potentially expensive pocket half way down the Ruakaka straight.
It can be too easy to get carried away with early season 3-year-olds, especially as so many of our elite juveniles from last season are absent at the moment, but the style in which Catalyst balanced up and unleashed leaves little doubt he has the motor of a very good galloper.
With that comes overseas interest and Rick Williams, who manages The Oaks Stud and thoroughbred holdings of Queensland-based owner Dick Karreman, admits the offers for Catalyst have been in the seven-figure range. "We have had people inquire at $1.3-$1.4 million type prices but we tell them we aren't interested at this stage, so those sort of offers haven't got to the formal stage," says Williams. "We have sold a lot of horses in the past and Dick wants to have some fun racing a horse like him.
"So he isn't for sale at the moment unless the offers get really, really big and even then, all going well, probably not until after Riccarton if at all.
"But I can see him staying with us and being a gelding he can hopefully race on for a few seasons. If that is the case then with the money available in Australia then he could win the sort of money we are being offered.
"But for now the targets are the Hawke's Bay and then 2000 Guineas."
Catalyst is now the $2 favourite for the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 9, mainly because of his win but also because Holy Mongolemperor, who was the $5 second favourite for the Guineas heading into Saturday, drifted enormously after being unplaced in the opening race.
He failed to take up an early position when asked by rider Matt Cameron and didn't enjoy racing in traffic and while he failed to make up much ground in the final 200m that was the case for most horses coming wide on a day when the inside two spots were paved in gold after the rail returned to the true.
All of which made Catalyst's ballistic final 200m coming down the middle of the track even more startling. While the son of Darci Brahma is providing Chipperfield with a huge boost to this new solo training phase of his career, Catalyst is also helping put jockey Harris's name back up in lights.
His talent has never been in doubt but weight issues have curtailed his career yet not only does he have Catalyst now but will ride other high-class 3-year-olds like Double Impact (Hastings this Saturday) and Kali (Gold Trail on October 5) with the latter's last-start jockey Leith Innes committed to Bavella. That means at this stage Harris is on the favourite for both the 1000 and 2000 Guineas.
Harris even won the first race on Saturday on the impressive Sherwood Forest but with that Tony Pike-trained gelding also being aimed at the 2000 Guineas he is likely to be in need of a new rider.