IN Racing
Isdale hoping Big Story lives up to his name
Clinton Isdale’s time with Big Story will be short.
NZ Racing Desk | March 31, 2022
Trainer Clinton Isdale. Photo: Trish Dunell

Clinton Isdale’s time with Big Story will be short and he is hoping to make an early impact with the youngster before he heads offshore.

The Cambridge trainer has a healthy opinion of the juvenile, who will make his first appearance in the Auckland Alarms 2YO (1300m) at Avondale on Saturday.

Big Story was bred by Luigi Muollo under his Explosive Breeding banner and the Novara Park principal recently sold an interest in the gelding to OTI Racing.

Terry Henderson’s Australian-based operation is a major supporter of the New Zealand racing and breeding industries and its colours will also be carried on the Avondale card by the Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Principessa in the National Security Maiden (1600m).

OTI will be furthered represented in the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) on Saturday by Regal Lion, a Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-prepared son of Novara Park’s late sire Jakkalberry.

“After the first gallop I gave Big Story, I said to Luigi that he’s probably the best horse we’ve had,” Isdale said. 

He previously looked after Elusive Express, also by Jakkalberry, and Only Words as younger horses for Muollo before they went to Australia where the former won the Gr.2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1610m) and ran second in the Gr.1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) from Anthony and Sam Freedman’s stable.

Sweynesse’s daughter Only Words was successful in the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1200m) for Isdale before joining Chris Waller and added the Gr.2 The Roses (2000m) to her record.

Big Story is unbeaten in two trial appearances on the synthetic track at Cambridge, most recently over 950m last week.

“OTI has bought into him and one of the clauses is that he would have two starts here, targeting the Champagne Stakes at his second one if he was to run well on Saturday, and then he will go to Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr in Australia,” Isdale said.

The Listed Staphanos By Deep Impact Champagne Stakes (1600m) will be run at Pukekohe on April 23.

Andrew Calder has been booked to ride Big Story, who has also drawn well in gate five. 

“He’s an exciting horse and he does have to go right-handed, which is a bit of a query, but I think he is professional enough to overcome that,” Isdale said.

“He couldn’t have been more impressive with what he’s done and hopefully he can convert it to race day. 

“He is doing everything on raw ability and will be a better three-year-old, but while he’s doing everything so well and eating well we thought we would take him to the races.” 

Big Story is from the first crop of the Savabeel stallion What’s The Story, who will stand alongside Staphanos, Sweynesse and King Of Comedy at Novara Park this year after beginning his stud career at Norwegian Farm.

What’s The Story was a two-time winner for former trainer Stephen McKee and finished runner-up in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m). He is out of a half-sister to multiple Group One winner Tall Poppy and Big Story will be his second race day representative.

Clinton Isdale Big Story Luigi Muollo Explosive Breeding Novara Park OTI Racing Terry Henderson Roger James Robert Wellwood Principessa Regal Lion Elusive Express Jakkalberry Only Words Sweynesse Chris Waller Mick Price Michael Kent Jnr Deep Impact Andrew Calder King Of Comedy What’s The Story Staphanos Tall Poppy