Trish Dunell Photography
Smart Kiwi three-year-old Summer Passage is on track for the Gr.1
Caulfield Guineas at Caulfield on Saturday week, but a new rider has to
Trained by Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott, Summer Passage earned a tilt at the 1600-metre feature when fighting on strongly for second behind Perast in last Sunday’s Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield.
He was ridden in that event by Mark Zahra, who had also been aboard in his fresh-up run when eighth in the Gr.2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington, but won’t be available for the mount in the Caulfield Guineas.
“Mark is booked to ride Catchy, one of the favourites,” O’Sullivan said. “We’ve had a bit of interest in the ride but nobody has been confirmed yet.”
On the strength of Summer Passage’s Guineas Prelude effort and his sole juvenile run in Australia when second to Invader in the Gr.1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last April, there should be no shortage of talented riders chasing the mount on Saturday week, even though it’s the day in which many of the big guns will be in Sydney competing in the A$10 million Everest.
Despite failing to figure in the finish fresh-up in the Danehill Stakes, O’Sullivan was unperturbed.
“It was his first run on good ground since February and he needed it,” O’Sullivan said. “But if he wasn’t in the first three last Sunday we’d have been disappointed. He would not have been heading in the right direction.
“He was sixth favourite so wasn’t fancied, but he did well. He had to do a fair bit early when he was out on a limb.”
O’Sullivan said Summer Passage continues to improve.
“I’d like to see a bit more condition on him, but he looked better this week than he did two weeks ago,” he said. “I still think there’s more improvement in him and he’d want to improve a bit more for the Caulfield Guineas.”
Already a Group One winning juvenile in New Zealand, a Caulfield Guineas victory would greatly enhance the value of the well-bred Snitzel colt as a future stallion prospect. – NZ Racing Desk.
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