Buoyant is set to be given an opportunity across the Tasman after Southland’s new sprint star secured his second consecutive stakes win in the Listed Property Brokers Hazlett Stakes (1200m) at Wingatui on Boxing Day.
The Dalghar gelding had a rating of 73 at the start of the season but has made giant strides over the last four months, winning three of his five starts and stepping up on to the big stage in some of the South Island’s showpiece sprints.
After a strong-finishing third in the Listed Pegasus Stakes (1000m) on the opening day of the Riccarton carnival in early November, the four-year-old backed up on the final day to claim his first black-type win in the Gr.3 Stewards’ Stakes (1200m).
Wingatui on Boxing Day brought more of the same, with Buoyant tucked in along the rail in third before jockey Corey Campbell angled him into the clear at the top of the straight.
The $2.50 favourite took a few moments to work through his gears, but he lengthened stride powerfully through the final 150 metres to score a comfortable win by three-quarters of a length. Lightning Jack crossed the line in second place, a length in front of Golden Harvest.
“Today was a really lovely follow-up to what he did in the Stewards’ Stakes at Riccarton last month,” said Ascot Park trainer Sabin Kirkland, who also shares in the ownership of the talented chestnut.
“He’s managed to come out and run 1:10.31 on a soft track and win pretty impressively, so he’s done everything we could have asked for.
“He went a month between runs leading into today, but I had no trouble at all keeping him up to the mark during that time. He was absolutely fine.”
Buoyant was passed in as a weanling at the Karaka May Sale in 2019 with a reserve of only $3000, but he has now had 16 starts for six wins, four placings and $190,540 in prizemoney.
Now there could be even bigger and better things in store, including a potential shot at the Gr.1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 11. The time-honoured Flemington feature produced a Kiwi triumph earlier this year with star mare Roch ‘n’ Horse.
“I’m absolutely stoked with the progress the horse has made this season, and he’s also caught the eye of some Australians who are coming into the ownership,” Kirkland said. “They’re really keen to get him over there and give him a chance in a race like the Newmarket Handicap, which is pretty exciting.”
Buoyant is nominated for the Gr.1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham on January 14, for which the TAB now rates him a $14 chance, but he is far from a certain runner in Wellington’s biggest sprint.
“I’m a bit doubtful about the Telegraph because of the weight conditions,” Kirkland said. “He may end up going straight over to Australia, where he’ll be trained by Matthew Enright and I’ll leave it all up to him.”