Australian Thoroughbred

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2/3/2020 Catalyst still on target for All-Star Mile

Classy three-year-old Catalyst is still on target for a start in the $5million All Star Mile at Caulfield on March 14 Photo: Trish Dunell

Trainer Clayton Chipperfield is firm in his belief that star three-year-old Catalyst (NZ) (Darci Brahma) can bounce back to his best in the A$5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) in a fortnight despite suffering a heavy defeat in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington.

The Darci Brahma gelding weakened noticeably in the concluding stages on Saturday after lodging a likely challenge at the 300m mark, with Chipperfield and jockey Damian Lane believing a return to racing in blinkers is now a must for the horse.

“The race just wasn’t run to suit with the outsider (Commodus) going around us and slowing up the pace made us hang on a bit too much,” Chipperfield said.

“When we needed to finish it off in the last bit he started looking around at the horses beside him so the jockey (Lane) came back in and said he needed the hood to go back on.

“He will definitely race in the hood next start and most likely for the rest of his life.

“I know there have been some comments that said he looked like he was hanging or suchlike but that wasn’t the case as he was just having a gawk around.

“I think it was inexperience as he hasn’t had horses around him going past him like that as he is normally the one going past them, so he was wondering what was going on.”

Chipperfield spent time with the horse on Sunday morning before heading home to New Zealand and was pleased with what he saw.

“He was running around his paddock on Sunday morning, happy as Larry without a care in the world so I was pleased about that,” he said.

“He left about two handfuls of feed last night, so that wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

“He also had the vets give him a good going over after the race and he passed their tests perfectly.

“They took some blood off him which we won’t know about for a couple of days, but he is as bright as a button today and we will keep a good eye on him over the next 48 hours.”

Chipperfield has Catalyst staying at ex-pat kiwi Brett Scott’s Mornington property and will get a report from Scott during the week before flying back to Melbourne on Friday for the lead-up to the All-Star Mile at Caulfield on March 14.

“Scotty is going to give him a trot up tomorrow (Monday) and let me know how he feels while Robert (Priscott) is coming over today (Sunday) to be with him until I get back next Friday,” Chipperfield said.

“If Robert and Scotty are happy, we will push on to the All-Star.

“Damian (Lane) will gallop him and we might even take him to Caulfield for a look around during the week.

“If we had an issue, we would be on the next plane home as the welfare of the horse is the number one priority.

“He’s a better horse than what we saw on Saturday and we want to show people that next time.”