News In Brief
Pace key to Kiwi stayer’s chances
Roger James is praying for a truly run Gr.3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on Saturday for his charge Von Tunzelman.
“I just hope there’s a bit more pace in the race,” the Cambridge trainer said. “He got back last start in a slowly run race and he was a long time getting clear room.
“He was doing his best work late, he needs to get out and have time to build up.”
Von Tunzelman, who finished sixth over 1800m at Flemington in his Australian debut, will be ridden by Michael Dee.
The New Zealand jockey’s best win before moving to Victoria came aboard the James-trained Hera in the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie.
Raced by breeders Brendan and Jo Lindsay, Von Tunzelman may make one further appearance in Victoria before heading home.
“It depends on Saturday, but there is the Ballarat Cup over 2200m if he runs very well,” James said.
Distance query on Guineas contender
The only question the in-form filly Dijon Bleu has to answer in Saturday’s Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton is one of distance.
“It’s good to see her get a good draw, but the step up to 1600m is a bit of a concern although it is against her own age group,” Awapuni trainer Lisa Latta said.
Dijon Bleu boasts excellent lead-up form to the classic with consecutive wins in the Listed O’Leary’s Fillies’ Stakes (1200m), the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) and the Listed Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).
Stakes race next on programme
Shadow Fox has earned himself a crack at a black type race.
The seven-year-old will step up in grade after producing a courageous front-running performance to win the F & R Insulation Panels Ltd Handicap (1200m) at Awapuni on Thursday.
“He’s just tough, he doesn’t give up,” part-owner and trainer Steve Gulliver said. “We’ve taken our time with him, he doesn’t like wet tracks, and he can go to Otaki now for the Listed 1200m race.”
The target event for Shadow Fox is the Chainey’s Panasonic Levin Stakes on December 1.
Colt in Karaka Million mix
Debut winner Long Leaf will first chase a valuable black type victory at Sandown in Saturday's Listed Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) at Sandown.
“He's also a Karaka Million horse, so it may be on the agenda to go over for the race if he was to perform well. That's an option,” co-trainer Tom Dabernig said.
Long Leaf was a $750,000 purchase out of Curraghmore’s draft at Karaka earlier this year.
“He's a very well-bred Coolmore-owned horse and it would be good to get him some black type on Saturday,” Dabernig said.
Long Leaf is a son of Fastnet Rock and Frustrating, who is a half-sister to a number of stakes performers, including Hallmark Stud stallion Super Easy.