The Brisbane winter carnival has been a moving feast for New Zealand raiders in recent years and Kiwi trainer Graeme Nicholson believes he can extend the trend with Time Keeper in the $500,000 Queensland Derby on June 12.
Time Keeper (3c Stravinsky – Organdy by Our Emblem) booked a trip across the Tasman when he took on and beat older horses in the G1 Easter Handicap (1600m) at Ellerslie on Saturday. He became the first three-year-old to win the event since Status in 1990.
“It’s going to take a damn good horse to beat him in Australia,” Nicholson beamed. “I’m blown away by today’s win. Just how good is he?”
Time Keeper led from go-to-whoa to help Stravinsky fill the quinella. Last start NZ Oaks runner-up November Rain was again relegated to second spot while Nicholson’s warhorse Sir Slick finished third. The Te Aroha trainer will fly Time Keeper and Sir Slick to Brisbane on May 1.
Jockey Mark Sweeney was aboard the Stravinsky colt for the first time in the Easter Hcp and he was suitably impressed. “He was never going to get beat. He just bolted when I let him slide at the 600 metres.”
Time Keeper took 18 starts to break his maiden at Awapuni in January but that was the catalyst for him to win 4 times from 8 starts this year. He travelled to Auckland on the back of a six length victory in the G3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni.
Stravinsky got his latest G1 winner from an unraced USA bred mare Organdy. The dam has a 2yo filly and a yearling colt by St Reims. She delivered a filly by Colombia last October.