Texas didn’t disgrace himself in strong company as a two-year-old and will be given early black-type opportunities this season to fully realise his stakes potential.
The son of Rubick has been held in high regard by Nick Bishara for some time and the Ardmore Lodge trainer was both relieved and delighted to see the gelding break his maiden in good style at Ruakaka on Saturday.
Texas returned from a four-month break to comfortably put away his older rivals over 1200m and loftier goals are now back on the table for the remainder of his preparation.
“I was very pleased with him and I’ve been singing his praises for a while. I thought he was a grouse horse and he had been showing me so much last season and it was just a shame he couldn’t win one,” Bishara said.
“I was telling all the bloodstock agents to buy him when he was a maiden and he’ll go on with it. He has really furnished and strengthened up so it’s exciting times.
“I’ve got to make a decision now and haven’t ruled out the Northland Breeders’ Stakes (Group 3, 1200m) or run him in a Rating 65 over 1300m and then look at the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (Group 2, 1400m).”
While Texas failed to win in six starts as a juvenile, his form was sound and included sixth placings behind Wolverine in the Group 2 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) and in the Listed Champagne Stakes (1600m) to Sharp ‘N’ Smart.
He also finished runner-up behind Group 1 VRC Derby (2500m) hope Mr Maestro and fourth behind subsequent Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) winner Lickety Split.
“It was probably my fault a bit and I over-exposed him a fraction, but he had showed so much at home that there was a chance he could pick one up,” Bishara said.
Texas was bought out of Windsor Park Stud’s draft at last year’s New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale for $40,000 and Bishara is confident he will be adept over more ground.
“He’s got quite an interesting pedigree, he’s by Rubick who is a speed influence as we know, and out of a Testa Rossa mare,” Bishara said.
“His second dam is a Quest For Fame mare (Perfect Drop) who ran second in the AJC Oaks (Group 1, 2400m). There’s a bit of stamina there too so I don’t think he’ll have any problem getting a mile.”
Bishara formerly trained and part-owned Verry Elleegant and prepared the multiple Group One winner’s brother Verry Flash to win on eight occasions before he joined Kevin Myers’ stable for a jumping campaign.
That has been put on hold by the eight-year-old’s run of form that has included victories in the Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m) and the Whyte Handicap (1600m).
He was a last-start third in the Group 3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday and is an acceptor for the Janet Francis Open Handicap (2200m) on the middle day of the Grand National carnival on Wednesday on the synthetic track.
“I don’t know if that’s his cup of tea, but I’ll never, ever tell Kevin how to train one,” Bishara said.
“He got too far out of his ground on Saturday and came home resolutely. He went to Kevin for a jumping campaign and was just going through the motions a bit up here.
“I thought with a change of environment he might get a couple more on the flat, but he’s exceeded my expectations.
“I’ve sent another one down to Kevin, Rising Ransom isn’t as talented as Verry Flash but it seems to have worked the oracle and he’s found a new lease of life and just waiting for Kevin to find a race for him.”
Bishara is being kept busy at home with a growing stable and a good mix of youngsters and older, proven residents.
“I’ve got 10 nice two-year-olds coming through and have Cherry Lane, Single Malt and Chase ‘N’ Gold in at Tauranga on Saturday and my old favourite Daytona Red will probably kick off at Ruakaka the week after,” he said.