IN Racing
Wexford heading out west with Waitak
Wexford Stables will break new ground next month with their Group One-winning sprinter Waitak heading to Western Australia.
Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | March 11, 2024
Waitak winning the Gr.1 Railway (1200m) on New Year's Day. Photo: Kenton Wright (Race Images)

Wexford Stables will break new ground next month with their Group One-winning sprinter Waitak heading to Western Australia.

The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained son of Proisir has been confirmed as the slot runner for New Zealand’s Trackside Media and host club Perth Racing in the A$5 million The Quokka (1200m) in Perth.

Trackside is the media and broadcast arm of the TAB, which Entain Australia and New Zealand operates under a 25-year strategic partnering agreement.

The inaugural 2023 running of the weight-for-age The Quokka was won by expatriate Kiwi trainer Bjorn Baker with Overpass, who is expected to return to defend his title at Ascot on April 20.

“It’s exciting for the whole team here and the ownership group and we’re very appreciative of Entain offering us the slot,” Scott said.

“It’s something new for us and we’re not going there to make up the numbers, he’s a very good sprinter and if he gets conditions and tempo to suit then he’ll be finishing off strongly.”

Waitak opened his four-year-old season with victory in an open handicap at Te Rapa before he thundered home from last to claim the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m).

He then finished midfield in the Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) after racing three wide without cover.

Waitak subsequently bypassed the Gr.3 Kings Plate (1200m) earlier this month due to a slightly elevated temperature and won’t race again before The Quokka.

“We decided to leave him at home and he’s well and truly over that now and he had a wee breeze along on Saturday morning and moved well,” Scott said.

“We will be giving him a quiet trial on Thursday and we might even look to trial him again on the 28th.

“He races really well fresh and he’ll fly to Sydney and then to Perth. By the time we get a couple of trials into him this month and, on top of the travel, he will be ready when he arrives there.

“We haven’t talked about a jockey yet but hopefully we’ll be locking in a top rider.”

Perth Racing Chief Executive James Oldring welcomed the confirmation of Waitak as the Trackside Media runner.

"It's fantastic to have New Zealand representation in Perth for The Quokka and no doubt Waitak’s presence will generate plenty of interest from Kiwi racing fans,” he said.

“We look forward to welcoming him and his team to Ascot in April.”

Meanwhile, Waitak’s star young stablemate and Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Molly Bloom is progressing well.

The daughter of Ace High is in the mix for a crack at the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) on March 30, which has been relocated to Ellerslie.

An inspection of the Te Aroha track last Friday deemed the current issues with the course will not be remedied in time.

“Her progress will dictate whether she gets to that race and, at this stage, we are hoping to build toward it,” Scott said.

“She will have a quiet trial on Thursday and everything will become a lot clearer after that.”

A trip to the Brisbane winter carnival is also in the mix for Molly Bloom filly, who won last month’s Gr.2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) at her most recent appearance.

“Her progress toward race day fitness in the next couple of weeks will dictate where we look to run her,” Scott said.

“We haven’t really made plans and want to get the trial under her belt first and then set a plan from there.”

Waitak lance o'sullivan and andrew scott