There's no pressure on high-priced and beautifully-bred Snitzel filly Autumn Wild when she makes her debut in Saturday's Listed Ashford Lodge Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe, says Matamata trainer Lance O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan's Wexford Stables went to $750,000 to snare Autumn Wild at this year's Australian Easter Yearling Sale in Sydney, bought in partnership with Hermitage Thoroughbreds and Andrew Williams Bloodstock.
|Lance O'Sullivan Photo: Trish Dunell Photography
Hermitage Thoroughbreds have enjoyed Group One success with O'Sullivan and his co-trainer Andrew Scott in the past 14 months through Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) winner Willie Cazals and Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) winner Summer Passage.
An impressive winner of her two trials at Te Awamutu then Cambridge, Autumn Wild is out of Regimental Gal, whose wins included the Gr.1 Lightning Stakes (1000m), Gr.1 Australia Stakes (1200m) and the Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m).
"She'll probably start one of the favourites and she has trialled really well but there's no expectation on her to win," O'Sullivan said.
"We bought her at the Sydney Easter sales for the same owners as Summer Passage and we'll build her up slowly. She'll take plenty of improvement out of this race. There will be a lot of upside with her with the outing but this is not her grand final.
"It races like a long 1100m at Pukekohe. If we hadn't drawn seven and had that wide barrier to contend with, we might have started at Te Rapa on Sunday."
Matamata-based Australian jockey Jake Bayliss takes the ride at Pukekohe in a two-year-old feature that features just the solitary race winner, the impressive five-length Otaki victor Pinot Grey.
Bayliss has been booked to ride She's A Thief in the Wentwood Grange Juvenile (1000m) at Te Rapa on Sunday, though that horse remains in the Pukekohe field.
She’s A Thief won her Cambridge trial impressively the same day as Autumn Wild and in a time similar to her and another Matamata-trained debutante, Bit Lippy. - NZ Racing Desk