Major domestic opportunities await the progressive three-year-old Bitcoin before he continues his career offshore.
The son of staying influence Tarzino runs in Saturday’s Gr.2 AJC Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Pukekohe ahead of a tilt at the Gr.1 Auckland Thoroughbred Racing New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Te Rapa on March 4.
Bitcoin has two placings from his three appearances, including an unlucky third in the Listed Gingernuts Salver (2100m), after which a Victorian-based syndicator joined the ownership group.
“After his last start, Spicer Thoroughbreds and clients became involved and the original owners stayed in as well,” trainer Andrew Forsman said.
“At this stage, he’ll hopefully run well on Saturday and he’ll improve a heap going to the Derby and then the plan is that they will take him over to Australia.
“He’s got a lot of upside and is only lightly raced. He’s still a bit raw and figuring things out, but he seems a natural stayer and is drawn to get a soft run.”
Forsman will also be represented in the Guineas by Full Of Sincerity and he too races in Australian ownership after OTI purchased him following his maiden success three runs back.
“He has drawn a bit awkwardly and will have to go back. You can forgive him in his last couple of runs, he hasn’t had all favours but he is certainly capable,” he said.
“There are a number of even horses in the race without a stand-out and I think he’s up to it if he gets the right run.”
Another runner of interest for the team is Riproar, a half-brother by Charm Spirit to his multiple stakes-winning stablemate Mr Maestro, who debuts in the Dad’s Pies 2YO (1100m).
“It’s hard at the moment to get two-year-olds out and racing, we haven’t been able to get them to a grass trial to educate them,” Forsman said.
“Really, all we’ve done with him has been on the polytrack. He has got very similar qualities to Mr Maestro, he’s a bit bigger and they are strong and well-muscled horses and he seems to have that natural ability that the family have got.”
Amazing Grace (Ecochill Handicap, 1600m) and Imarichgirl (Mainland Handicap, 1500m) will also be in action at Pukekohe.
“It might be a bit short for them fresh-up, but they are both going really well and Amazing Grace will get back from a widish draw and she’s capable of running a cheeky race,” Forsman said.
“We want to see Imarichgirl do everything right and then progress to a middle distance in one of those fillies’ races.”
In Victoria, Forsman’s trio of Aegon, Mr Maestro and She’s Licketysplit have progressed well since opening their Australian campaigns at Sandown last Saturday.
Aegon is likely to target the Gr.2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) on Saturday fortnight with the winner of the Flemington event guaranteed a start in the A$5 All-Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 18.
“We can’t count on him getting the votes to be selected so that’s pretty much the path we have to take,” Forsman said.
Aegon finished sixth and less than a length and a-half off the winner in the Gr.1 Orr Stakes (1400m) while Mr Maestro was fifth in the Gr.2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) and will step out next in the Gr.2 Autumn Classic (1800m) back at Sandown on February 25.
She’s Licketysplit, who was unplaced when she resumed in the Gr.3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1100m), will be in action there in the Gr.2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) and the three stablemates have improved with their resuming runs.
Meanwhile, Saint Bathans was to have departed for Australia to run at Rosehill on Saturday but the recent wild weather cancelled his original flight.
“He flies out on Sunday morning and it’s not ideal, but he will probably run in the Gr.3 City of Liverpool Cup (1300m) the following Saturday at Randwick,” Forsman said.
“It’s a quality handicap and will be a little bit short for him and won’t be that well off in the weights, but he has to run somewhere to get going.”