Southern galloper Sea Shepherd will take one step closer to his major Winter target when he heads to Wingatui on Sunday to contest The Mosgiel Tavern (1400m).
Trainer Sabin Kirkland has circled the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on August 5 as his gelding’s main aim this preparation, however, the son of Zacinto will do the remainder of his preparation in the care of Canterbury trainers Michael and Matthew Pitman.
“We are heading away to Europe to travel around France and Italy, so he is going to go to Pitty’s, with the long-term plan being the Winter Cup,” said Kirkland, who also part-owns the son of Zacinto.
Before he grabs his passport, Kirkland would like to get another win on the board with Sea Shepherd this weekend and he is confident of another bold run following his last start winning effort over a mile at Ascot Park.
“He went super last start with 60 kilos on his back,” Kirkland said.
“He has got a nice weight at 58kg on Sunday, he has won on the course, and I think the conditions (Heavy10) will suit him.”
Kirkland is also looking forward to lining up promising three-year-old Imabuster in the Bailey Kennedy @ Edinburgh Realty (1400m) later on the Wingatui card.
The son of Iffraaj has had two starts to date, including a pleasing last start runner-up effort over 1200m at Riverton.
Kirkland was rapt with the run and is confident of going one better this weekend.
“I think he is really going to suit that 1400m,” he said.
“We have got a good hoop (Sam Weatherley) aboard, he has drawn well (barrier five) and I think he will be very hard to beat.”
Meanwhile, Kirkland is anticipating the return of his quality sprinter Buoyant.
The four-year-old gelding was in hot form last spring and early summer, winning three and placing in two of his five starts, including triumphs in the Gr.3 Stewards Stakes (1200m) and Listed Hazlett Stakes (1200m).
Kirkland then set his sights on Australia with the son of Dalghar, however, it hasn’t been smooth-sailing for the gelding, who has had a spell since a barrier incident earlier in the year.
“He arrived in Australia in early January,” Kirkland said.
“He had a late scratching in what was meant to be his first start. One of the starter’s attendants went up to stop a horse beside him and he half-pie went off. He has got to go back to the trials.”
Buoyant is in the care of Bendigo trainer Matthew Enright who is eyeing an early spring preparation with gelding.
“He is back in work and is better than ever,” Kirkland said.
“He (Enright) really likes the horse. We haven’t got any set plans at this stage. There are so many opportunities over there.
“We are looking to line him up in late July.”