Alan Tait is drawing inspiration from a fellow New Zealand trainer to fuel his Melbourne spring carnival hopes with Big Brown gelding Southern Icon.
The Matamata horseman has the G1 Caulfield Guineas in October as the long-term aim for his unbeaten youngster Southern Icon.
“Everyone dreams of it, and Trent (Busuttin) did it last year,” Tait told The Informant on Thursday. “They won at Ruakaka and were on a plane over there. He (El Roca) was a certainty beaten in the Guineas.”
Southern Icon (2g Big Brown – Cataclopse by Catbird) beat El Roca’s stablemate Johnhro at his Ruakaka debut in May, and Tait has two further visits to the Northland track in mind for the gelding starting with the Red Giant 2YO Challenge (1000) this Saturday.
“I think he’s improved a lot – he looks really good and I’m happy with him,” he said. “He will go back again a month later for the Westbury Stud Challenge Stakes, and if he’s as good as I think he is, then he will go to Australia.”
Tait, who prepared the now-retired Southern Lord to win the G1 Levin Classic, was confident his current charge would win on debut, despite his odds of 20-1.
“It was no surprise, I thought he wouldd win,” he said.
Raced by Tait’s wife Gaelene and stable client Mike Collinson, the gelding is a son of the Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown.
Southern Icon does have close New Zealand ties as his dam Cataclopse (Catbird) is a half-sister to Zabeel’s G1 Avondale Cup and G1 Waikato International Stakes winner Greene Street.