Atishu joins leading Sydney barn

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Go Racing syndicator Albert Bosma believes the best time to send New Zealand horses to Australia is when they’re on the way up rather than when there’s nothing left to prove at home.

That philosophy is the main reason that quality filly Atishu has moved across the Tasman to the Chris Waller stable for her four-year-old racing.

Owned by the Go Racing Ring a Ring Syndicate, Atishu won the last four of her nine New Zealand starts for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh, including two Listed races at Riccarton – the NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m) and the New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m).

Though she has looked very promising, especially when winning the Airfreight Stakes by seven lengths, Atishu still has a rating of 82 and Bosma said there are many more options for her in Sydney this spring.

“We’ve got to take advantage of the fact we think she is potentially a superstar but that she’s also at a rating that she has enormous earning potential through the spring in Australia,” Bosma said.

“In New Zealand, probably the only race for her in spring was the Couplands Mile (Group 2, 1600m). Otherwise, she would be tackling weight-for-age at Hastings, but even if she ran second or third in one of those races then she’s going to get crucified in the ratings, and her opportunity in ratings races in Australia is gone.

“In Sydney she can get to rating 88 races to kick off at a good weight and will be running for AU$130,000 every week.”

Added to the appeal of Australia is the fact that good races in Sydney in spring and autumn are frequently run on rain-affected going, which Atishu has proved adept on.

“I think she handles pretty much anything, but if it’s wet in spring, it won’t disadvantage her but it may disadvantage a lot of the horses she’s up against,” Bosma said.

If all goes well Atishu could be aimed at the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) on October 2 and the AU$7.4 million Golden Eagle (1500m) on October 30, but Bosma said the regular raceday prizemoney makes it worthwhile to go to Sydney regardless.

Bosma said the move to Australia was no reflection on Atishu’s trainer Stephen Marsh, who won’t be forgotten if she does well across the Tasman.

“That was really important to us, we didn’t want a situation where we just said ‘sorry mate, you’re losing the horse’. We wanted to have good conversations with him and make sure there’s a range of situations whereby he was going to be well looked after, and that will be the same with any horse we transfer to Australia.”

Go Racing was mainly focused on New Zealand racing in its early years and the majority of its 800-plus owners are in New Zealand, but it now has about 50 horses in New Zealand and 30 in Australia.

Chris Waller, who Bosma raced horses with when he began training in Foxton, has trained most of Go Racing’s horses in Australia, but from this season Go Racing has also teamed up with the stables of John O’Shea and Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.

In New Zealand their main trainers have been Marsh, Stephen McKee, Lisa Latta and Andrew Carston.

Apart from Atishu, Bosma said the team was excited at the spring prospects in Australia of two other rising four-year-olds, Logan Street Lion and Mightybeel, along with the European-bred import Mubariz.

At home, Bosma said rising three-year-olds to watch out for included Art de Triomphe, a two-year-old winner at Riccarton, along with the filly Divine Sava and an unraced Iffraaj filly named Miss Ella.

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