Wexford Stables have moved on from the unfortunate circumstances that blighted Asterix’s last outing and the talented son of Tavistock remains on target for the Sydney autumn carnival.
It’s a case of forgive and forget for trainers Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott with last season’s Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner, who had a valid excuse when he finished well off the pace in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m).
Asterix pulled a plate at Te Rapa and a post-race veterinary examination found him to be lame, but he has quickly bounced back and will step out in Saturday’s Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2050m) at Pukekohe.
“He threw a shoe in the Herbie Dyke and if ever a horse didn’t want to lose a shoe it would be him, he feels his feet a bit and we’ve put a line through that day,” Scott said.
“We galloped him this morning with Dragon Queen, that good horse with Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard, and he went really well beside her.
“We’ve got him sound again and he’s better for recent racing. We hope he can be a surprise package at the weekend, he is a talented horse and we think he will acquit himself well.”
That being the case, Asterix will cross the Tasman to make his Australian debut at Randwick on April 1 in a race the stable won in 2018 with Charles Road.
“We’re hoping it is another stepping-stone toward Sydney and running in the Chairman’s Handicap (Gr.2, 2600m),” Scott said.
“If he was to perform well, then I’m sure the connections will certainly look at the Sydney Cup (Gr.1, 3200m).”
The stable came up short in its defence of Asterix’s Derby title on Saturday with Waitak faring best of their runners when a gallant fifth, after he was held up in the straight, ahead of Devildom (11th) and Jaffira (13th).
Waitak has distinguished himself well in strong age group company this preparation and won the Listed Eagle Memorial (1500m) together with runner-up finishes in the Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m).
“He’s on the easy list at the moment with no firm plans. Lance will chat with the owners and make some decisions,” Scott said.
“He came through the Derby really well, one thing with the Proisirs is that they have incredible powers of recovery.
“He’s continued to eat well and we put him straight out to the farm on Saturday night and he was happy to be out in the paddock and have a week off.”
Stablemate Dragon Leap is taking it quietly after finishing fourth in the Gr.1 Railway (1200m) and sixth in the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at his last two outings.
“He didn’t really get all favours in the Railway or the BCD so we tipped him out for a bit,” Scott said.
“He actually worked for the time at the farm this morning so we’ll bring him back and see where his progress leads him, we haven’t got any plans yet.”