Back on track for Group One tilts
Trainers Evan and JJ Rayner believe they have their stable star Start Wondering on track to defend his Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) crown on New Year’s Day.
The son of Eighth Wonder rose to prominence when he downed the best sprinters in this year’s Ellerslie feature and went on to make his mark in three other Group Ones, including victory in the Gr.1 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa.
Start Wondering Photo: Kenton Wright Race Images
Those wins, plus his seconds in the Gr.1 J.R. & N. Berkett Telegraph (1200m) and Haunui Farm Group One WFA Classic (1600m), earned him the New Zealand Champion Sprinter award and the Rayners are confident he can measure up along the same path this campaign.
“He had a good break after Brisbane and he’s come back looking great,” Evan Rayner said. “He’s had exhibition gallops between races at Otaki and Waverley, but he hasn’t been to the trials.
“He could have gone to the Waverley or Foxton trials, but we don’t want him too tuned up. He’s done enough.”
Star Wondering will resume in Friday’s Listed Fasttrack Insurance Levin Stakes (1200m) at Otaki under the clear topweight of 61kgs.
“He’s getting ready for the Railway so he’ll improve with this run,” Rayner said. “He’ll be sitting behind the pace and I think he’ll be right in it. He’ll try himself. He’s that type of horse.”
Start Wondering will be ridden as usual by Johnathan Parkes and is likely to have one further build-up run for the Railway.
“We’ll find a race for him somewhere just to top him off for the Railway,” Rayner said.
“He’ll go along the same path as last season. There’s not much else for him.” - NZ Racing Desk