Wexford Stables were excited to see Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) hero Asterix back at the trials at his home track of Matamata on Thursday.
The Tavistock gelding went under foot reconstruction surgery following his Derby victory in March and trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott have been pleased with the way he has returned following lengthy rehabilitation.
“It was really good getting him back to the trials,” O’Sullivan said.
“It has been a long time off the scene, so it is good to get him back and he has pulled up sound and well.”
O’Sullivan said Asterix had been plagued by foot issues and it was a victory in itself to get him to the Derby, while steps taken following the race should ensure the four-year-olds longevity on the track.
“He has always had bad feet and he had major reconstruction done on him after the Derby and hopefully that has fixed the problem long-term,” he said.
“He had major problems, but at this stage everything is looking good.”
No plans have been made for the Group One winner as yet, but he will be seen at the trials once more before a return to raceday.
“We will trial him again and then find a race somewhere for him over a mile and then carry on from there,” O’Sullivan said.
Meanwhile, O’Sullivan is looking forward to lining up three runners at Te Rapa on Saturday, and he will be represented by Jaffira in the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.
“We are very happy with him,” O’Sullivan said. “He is only a one-win horse, but he has travelled down well and he is in very good condition.”
Closer to home, Waitak is set to make his debut for the stable in the NZB Ready To Run Sale 16/17 November 1400 at Te Rapa, having previously been prepared by Peter and Dawn Williams for whom he placed in the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) and Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m).
“He looks well and we are pleased with the way he has progressed. He should be competitive,” O’Sullivan said.
The Matamata operation will also line-up debutant Vamos in the Foster Maintain 3YO Mile (1600m) and Rockspell in the New Year’s Day Races @ Te Rapa 1300.
“Vamos is a three-year-old whose trials have been over shorter trips,” O’Sullivan said.
“He is a good type of horse, but we just think he wants to run a long way further, so we will find out a bit more about him on Saturday.
“Rockspell is going to take good improvement from the race. He is in good order, but he will certainly improve with the outing.”
Rockspell will be ridden by expat South African Craig Zackey, a recent addition to New Zealand’s jockey ranks, and O’Sullivan said the country is in need of more reinforcements.
“We are desperate for jockeys. If we could get another half a dozen that would be great,” he said.
“Take out our top half a dozen and we are struggling. We just need more because tomorrow with the main meeting down at Christchurch and another meeting up here, it is quite hard.”
- Article by NZ Racing Desk