Exciting Savabeel colt Brando will be out to showcase his talents on the international stage.
Trainer Jamie Richards is keen to test the lightly-tried galloper against the best of his generation across the Tasman following his runner-up finish in Saturday's Group 1 Levin Classic (1600).
A Melbourne campaign beckons the 3-year-old, who has won three of his five starts, including a dominant performance in the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day. Bought for $500,000 by Te Akau principal David Ellis from Riversley Park's draft at the 2019 Ready to Run Sale, the colt will have another chance to enhance his value as a future stallion prospect after getting in a bumping duel and a long way out of his ground when narrowly failing to run down Bonham in the Levin Classic.
"He will have a really quiet week this week," Richards said. "We will send him around to the water treadmill for a week to give him a bit of a freshen-up.
"He will run in the CS Hayes [Group 3, 1400m] at Flemington on February 13 and then the Australian Guineas [Group 1, 1600m] a fortnight later. In the back of our minds, his pedigree is pretty sharp and I think there is further improvement with a set of blinkers on as well. He will probably be seen in the CS Hayes with a set of those on.
"We think he deserved the opportunity, he was pretty unlucky the other day. I think with a bit more luck in running, he probably wins, but it's funny, the racing game at times. Some days, you have a bit of luck, and some days, you don't. We think he is up to the challenge."
Group 1-winning stablemates Probabeel and Kahma Lass, who both trialled well at Matamata last week, add to the Richards arsenal across the Tasman.
"Kahma Lass left [on Monday] and arrived in Sydney in good shape and heads to the Light Fingers [Group 2, 1200m] at Randwick on February 13 first up," Richards said.
Probabeel headed to Melbourne tonight.
"Her target is the A$5 million All-Star Mile at Moonee Valley on March 13."
Richards is looking forward to a bumper night of racing on Saturday at Ellerslie, where he will have as many as five runners in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m), a race Te Akau Racing has won four years in a row.
But the highlight of the six-race twilight card is likely to be the clash of Baker-Forsman star Aegon with Richards' last-start Group 2 winner Amarelinha in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.
- NZ Racing Desk