Big spring plans are in-store for Kiwi-bred Group One winner Atishu if she performs up to expectations in the early part of her preparation, which will kick-off at Rosehill on Saturday.
The daughter of Savabeel is fresh off being crowned the joint ‘Queen of the Autumn’ at the New South Wales Racehorse Owners’ Association Awards after her deeds earlier this year, which included finishing runner-up behind Roots in the Gr.2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) before winning the Gr.1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in April.
Raced by New Zealand syndicator Go Racing, Atishu has had two trials leading into her first-up assignment this weekend, the Gr.2 Sheraco Stakes (1200m), and Go Racing principal Albert Bosma said he has received positive reports from trainer Chris Waller.
“Atishu looks like she has come back enormous. She trialled lovely and she is down to kick off again this weekend,” Bosma said.
“There is every chance we will see her down in Melbourne again.
“She has got a lot of options and with a mare like her who is rated so highly, and she is a weight-for-age horse, it is all going to depend on her first couple of runs as to which path we end up taking.
“I think 1600m and 2000m are probably her best distances. She could be an Epsom (Gr.1, 1600m) horse and she could go to the Empire Rose (Gr.1, 1600m).
“The old Mackinnon (Gr.1 Champions Stakes, 2000m) could be on the cards as well and we may even throw in a nomination for the Cox Plate (Gr.1, 2040m).”
Bosma is looking forward to her stepping out for the first time this season on Saturday but said he doesn’t expect her to be featuring in the finish over the sprint distance.
“The race is well short of her best so we are just looking for a nice run, we are not expecting her to jump out of the ground and win this weekend because it is too short,” he said.
“Going into her second start, we would expect to see her stepping up.”
Meanwhile, Bosma is looking forward to welcoming a couple of his northern hemisphere runners to Australia in the coming months, and believes bright futures are instore for the pair downunder.
“Last year we purchased a couple of two-year-olds with the idea of leaving them up in the northern hemisphere for their three-year-old season, and at the end of their three-year-old season bring them down to Australia,” he said.
“The first one of those is a horse called Up And Under. He is twice Group Three placed, he ran fifth in the Irish Derby (Gr.1, 2400m), and he won his last start.
“Joseph O’Brien (trainer) feels he is a Caulfield Cup (Gr.1, 2400m) horse, but we just decided it was probably a year too soon.
“He will have one more start up there and then he will come down and go into Chris’ (Waller) care.
“The other horse is called Etna Rosso, he is a very good horse. He won on debut and then ran second in a Listed race in his next start, and in his third start he went to Royal Ascot and ran fifth in the Queen’s Vase (Gr.2, 2800m).
“He is a very good stayer and Joseph feels he is an ideal Sydney Cup (Gr.1, 3200m) horse, so that will probably be his aim in the autumn. He is due to run this weekend at the Champions Weekend in Ireland.”
Purchasing horses in the northern hemisphere is nothing new to Go Racing, who have had plenty of success with their northern purchases downunder, including Skyman, who finished runner-up in the Gr.2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday.
“What we have tended to do in the past is buy raced horses and then bring them down to Australia. Over the last decade, we have had a fantastic record and every single horse has won,” Bosma said.
“We paid 42,000 guineas for Skyman and he has now surpassed NZ$1 million in prizemoney, and most of them have made $500,000.
“We decided that we wanted to buy them as unraced breeze-up two-year-old horses, develop them ourselves up there and give the owners the opportunity to go to Royal Ascot and then bring them down.
“We have bought another two of them this year and we will look to buy another one privately in the next month or so. It is another string to what we do, and we look forward to continuing with it."