The first major wave of Kiwi raiders will leave Auckland shores for their assault on the Queensland winter carnival this Thursday.
Leading the charge is G1 Queensland Derby prospect Survived (Zed). An impressive last start winner of the G3 Hawkes Bay Gold Cup, he galloped powerfully in a hit-out on his home track last Friday morning which delighted trainer John Bary.
“We worked him right-handed and he went really well so at this stage it is all go for the Brisbane trip “said Bary. “Plan A for him is to run in Saturday’s Rough Habit Plate at Doomben and then in the Queensland Derby on June 8.
“The four week break between races will give him plenty of time to recover from the first-up effort and he should be cherry ripe for his Derby assignment. Of course, that all depends on the way he travels but at this stage he is right where we want him to be for the trip.”
Bary had also planned to send stablemate The Hombre (Lucky Owners) on the same flight but an indifferent last-start second has seen those plans put on hold for the time being as his immediate goals are reassessed.
The Murray Baker pair of Diademe (Savabeel) and Ambitious Champion (Zed) are also set to travel on Thursday where they will meet up in Brisbane with stablemate Usainity (Zed) who is making a road trip from Sydney to the carnival.
“Usainity has thrived since his last start win and he will definitely race this weekend in the Rough Habit Plate,” said Baker. “Ambitious Champion is being set for the Queensland Derby but he may need to earn some more prizemoney to make that field so I’m trying to work out just how we can achieve that over there in the next few weeks.
“Diademe holds a nomination for the Stradbroke but she may also struggle to make that field so we will concentrate on the Lady Of The Turf Stakes at Doomben and if she can’t get into the Stradbroke then there is another good fillies and mares race on the same day.”
The Tony Pike and Mark Donahue training partnership will have three representatives on the plane this week with G1 1000 Guineas runner-up Waterford (Darci Brahma) spearheading the team. She will be joined by handy stayer Carrick (Shinko King) and last start Counties winner Chintz (Savabeel).
“Waterford will go straight to the Doomben Roses on May 18 and then on to the Queensland Oaks,” said Pike. “Carrick will tackle the Chairmans Handicap this weekend and then head to the Brisbane Cup on June 8.
“Chintz will have a look at some of the smaller supporting races on those major days although a race like the Sunshine Coast Guineas is definitely an option.”