Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott aren’t short of talented three-year-olds in their stable this season, and Geriatrix looks to be another promising type after breaking his maiden impressively at Taupo on Wednesday.
The Almanzor gelding was near the tail of the field from the jump in a competitive Placemakers Rotorua Maiden 3YO (1300m) event, jockey Warren Kennedy eventually settling him midfield and took to the extreme outside turning for home in a similar position.
Race-favourite Beast of Burden cleared the remainder of the field around the 250m mark and an inexperienced Geriatrix showed an electric turn-of-foot to wear down Chad Ormsby’s gelding and score comfortably by half-a-length.
“He has come home very strongly. He’s got a long run in him to get wide on quick ground at Taupo and quicken in the manner he did to pick them up. It was well pleasing for the team,” Scott said.
“All looks well for the season for him, Warren said he’s still got a lot to learn and lacks a lot of confidence, so that was really encouraging.”
O’Sullivan indicated Geriatrix would be targeted for the Rating 65 1600m race at Pukekohe in a fortnight, and a strong performance would see the gelding journey south to Riccarton for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld 51st New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) on November 11.
“He’s got to make the next step up and if he runs well at Pukekohe, why not go down and have a crack,” he said.
Geriatrix donned the familiar colours of the Kelt family, who co-own the three-year-old, and also race 2022 Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Asterix with the stable.
O’Sullivan recalled pairing with Sam Kelt’s thoroughbreds since the 1980’s, notably with prized mare Popsy who he guided as a jockey to victory in the 1993 New Zealand Derby.
The Wexford Stables pair were also pleased to see Grail Seeker produce a similar dashing sprint to her stablemate, coming from near last entering the home straight to finish an eye-catching fourth in the Windstone Wallboards Maiden (1300m).
“She probably put on a winning performance, but didn’t get a winning result,” Scott said.
“She’s another one that got an awkward draw, got a wee bit wide and she’s put in a really long sprint and hit the line hard.
“She’s got a bright future in front of her and distance won’t be a problem.
“Both horses produced really encouraging performances, they’re both young and will continue to improve with the experience of today under their belt.”
Grail Seeker was also nominated for the opening day’s feature at the New Zealand Cup Carnival as well as the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm 51st 1000 Guineas (1600m), however, despite rating the Iffraaj filly, O’Sullivan confirmed she will remain in the North this spring.
“She’s certainly a nice filly, but she won’t head to Christchurch, all will come a bit too soon for her, so she’ll probably line up in a maiden race in three weeks or so,” he said.
Fortunately for the Wexford team, they possess the current equal-favourite for the 1000 Guineas in Molly Bloom, who will step out under Joe Doyle at Hastings on Saturday in the Time Construction Premier 3YO (1300m).
“She’s good and we expect her to run well,” O’Sullivan said.
Following her Hastings assignment, O’Sullivan plans to target the daughter of Ace High towards the Gr.2 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe on October 28, before she heads to Christchurch for the final day of the carnival.
O’Sullivan and Scott will also have some handy resuming chances at Arawa Park on Sunday, with Fabulous Gal, Tempest and Stickto The Orders.
Fabulous Gal produced a strong resuming performance at Taupo last month, and O’Sullivan indicated moisture in the current Soft6 (Wednesday) track conditions would better the four-year-old’s chances in the Novara Park 1400.
“Her first-up run was very good, she’s one that any moisture would greatly assist her chances,” he said.
“We’re happy with her and we’ll get a good idea of how she’s going with her work tomorrow, but she certainly hasn’t gone backwards since her first-up performance.”
Both Tempest and three-year-old filly Stickto The Orders will resume at the meeting following trials, contesting the Green Light Insurance Brokers 1400 and The Rotorua Club 1215 respectively.
“Tempest’s trial was sound and her works been good, we haven’t been able to win one with her yet but she’s a bit older, a bit stronger and we certainly expect her to put up a good performance first up,” O’Sullivan said.
"Stickto The Orders had a nice quiet trial and she trialled well, in the right race she’ll be competitive and she’s forward and fit, and hopefully will get a bit of luck in the run.”
-Article by LOVERACING.NZ.