NZ Briefs for 09th March 2018

Baker to consider Sydney 3YO options; Blinkered approach to Guineas; Brisbane on the radar; McDonald on way back; Rusof ready for second NZ stint
Baker to consider Sydney 3YO options
Cambridge trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman could have as many as five three-year-olds aimed at Sydney staying features in the coming weeks.
Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Vin De Dance is heading to Sydney with stablemates Mission Hill and Mongolian Marshal, Baker has confirmed.
Weather With You is already in Sydney and will contest a 1 m Rating 75 race at Warwick Farm next Wednesday, with Kerrin McEvoy booked to ride, as a possible lead-up to the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on March
Gundown could yet join the travelling party, should he win the last race at Ellerslie on Saturday.
"Vin De Dance will run in the Rosehill Guineas and we'll decide with the others whether they run in the same race or wait a week and run in the Tulloch Stakes," Baker said.
The Gr.2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) is run at Rosehill on March 31 and is a race Baker has won four times previously with (Our) Palliser (1987), The Bill (1993), Harris Tweed (2009) and Jon Snow last year.
Blinkered approach to Guineas
Chris Waller is banking on a new look to bring out the best in the New Zealand-bred Kaonic in the Gr.1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on Saturday.
“He was a little bit disappointing in his mid-week race against the older horses carrying a top-weight,” the Sydney trainer said.
“Blinkers go on and he comes back to his own age group. Six weeks ago we thought he would have been our leading Randwick Guineas hope, but things haven’t quite worked out the way we would have liked them I can’t fault the horse with the way he looks and the way he is working.”
The son of Savabeel, who has won two of his five starts, will be opposed by stablemate Tangmere, a Kiwi-bred son of Frankel who was purchased at Karaka for $1.3 million.
“Tangmere is going to be better over 1 1⁄4 m in the Rosehill Guineas,” Waller said. “I feel this race is going to be an important stepping stone for him. His work has really improved.”
Waller is also represented by Derby aspirant Tangled and the highly promising D’Argento, the current $5.50 second favourite behind the well-supported Godolphin runner Kementari at $2.70.
Brisbane on the radar
Tentative plans are in place for a trip to the Queensland winter carnival for the highly-regarded Campari.
The O’Reilly filly has placed in each of her four starts and was spelled after finishing third behind Dijon Bleu in the Listed Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) in the spring.
Campari is now close to a return to racing and was a 5 f trial winner at Taupo on Tuesday.
“She’s a pretty talented galloper,” Marsh said. “We could be looking at Brisbane in the winter for her.”
McDonald on way back
Champion expatriate New Zealand jockey James McDonald has been relicensed by Racing New South Wales.
He will be able to ride trackwork and at trials from April 3 before resuming his race day career on May
Godolphin’s former number one jockey in Australia, McDonald was outed after he admitted to placing a A$1000 bet on Astern before he rode the horse to victory at Randwick in December 2015. He was subsequently disqualified for 18 months.
Rusof ready for second NZ stint
Former champion Singapore apprentice Shafiq Rusof has returned to New Zealand.
The 31-year-old is continuing his association with Te Akau and will again be based at Matamata with trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards.
Rusof rode three winners here in the 2009-10 season when apprenticed to Mark Walker and followed the champion trainer to Singapore.
“He’s a gun rider and he’ll be a big asset to the riding ranks in New Zealand,” Walker said.
“He’s held his own against the likes of Joao Moreira, Gerald Mosse, Glen Boss, Michael Rodd and Vlad Duric. He rode a lot of winners and more than held his own against class jockeys in a very competitive environment.
“Basically, at the end of last season, they (Singapore Turf Club) didn’t relicense Shafiq, Manoel Nunes or Oscar Chavez. They wanted to get some new jockeys in and he can reapply after doing a stint in New Zealand.
“He can ride as light as 53kgs and use the stick in both hands. He rode a lot of winners for us here in Singapore and to win two apprentice titles you’ve got to be a gun jockey because the competition is a lot tougher than it is at home.”
Rusof will kick off his second New Zealand stint on Saturday aboard Byzantine, a Savabeel colt who will make his debut in the Crombie Lockwood NZ Ltd 2YO Maiden (1000m) at Trentham.

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