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Group One tilt in the balance, Epsom next for Icebath
NZ Racing Desk | September 22, 2022

Group One tilt in the balance

Cambridge horseman Tony Pike is keeping a close watch on the Hawke’s Bay forecast for Saturday week for his Gr.1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) contender Field Of Gold. 

“He needs a decent track and he travelled like the winner at Te Rapa last time before he copped a fair bit of kick back,” he said.

“He just dropped the bridle and lost his action for 100m, a few horses were doing that.

“He is going well and we’ll have to see if he heads to Hastings, he won’t go if it’s going to be a heavy track.”

Meanwhile, a Group One summer target has been pencilled in for Field Of Gold’s dual Australian stakes-winning stablemate winner Tutukaka.

The son of Tavistock was successful at Listed level last season in the Geelong Classic (2200m), before he ran sixth in the Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m), and the Tattersall’s Stakes (1830m) and also finished runner-up in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).

“He has been in for about two months now and he looks fantastic,” Pike said. “He will be set to resume in early November and something like the Thorndon Mile (Gr.1, 1600m) will be a nice target for him this prep.

Epsom next for Icebath

New Zealand-bred mare Icebath has been in great form this preparation with back-to-back Group placings and trainer Brad Widdup is hoping she can go one better at Randwick next week.

The six-year-old was runner-up in the Gr.2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) behind Zaaki before posting the same result behind Anamoe in the Gr.1 George Main Stakes (1600m) last weekend.

While Icebath recorded similar results in autumn when placing in the Gr.1 Doncaster Mile (1600m), Gr.1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m), and Gr.3 JRA Plate (2000m), Widdup said her preparation was plagued by inclement weather.

“It was good to see her produce like she did (on Saturday), but she has been going terrific this time in,” Widdup told RacingHQ.

“I haven’t had to train her around floods this preparation, so that has helped a little bit.

“She has always been in good order but we have just been able to train her up a little bit better this time in.”

The daughter of Sacred Falls is set to follow a similar path to last spring, with her next assignment set to be the Gr.1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) before the A$2million The Invitation (1400m) which she won last year.

“She has got the Invitation and it would love to chase that again,” Widdup said. “We will just get through next Saturday and see what she does.” 

Widdup purchased the Waikato Stud-bred filly in Australia as a yearling for $100,000.

Tony Pike Field Of Gold Tutukaka Karaka Million 3YO Classic Icebath Anamoe Zaaki Sacred Falls