Punters will have to wait at least a couple more weeks before they see Group One winner Catalyst resume his racing career.
The son of Darci Brahma was set to have his first start in nearly two years in the Group 2 Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday, but the wet weather that has battered the Waikato in the last few days has put a halt to those plans.
“We left him in hoping the track was going to improve a touch but with the amount of rain we have had in the Waikato in the last 24 hours I would say it is very unlikely that he will run fresh-up on an extremely heavy track,” trainer Tony Pike said.
“With spring in New Zealand, it is what it is, but that track tomorrow is going to be extremely heavy and testing and fresh-up after two years on that sort of surface wouldn’t be ideal, so we will just have to wait for another couple of weeks.”
His main aim for the spring is the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival and Pike said Catalyst will likely have a trial at Ruakaka next week before making his debut for the stable in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings on September 10.
Bred and owned by The Oaks Stud principal Dick Karreman, Catalyst was previously trained by Clayton Chipperfield, who guided the gelding to six victories from 10 starts.
Catalyst was unbeaten in New Zealand as a three-year-old, winning the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), Listed Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m), Group 3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and Group 3 Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m).
He then crossed the Tasman where he just went down to Alligator Blood in the Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) before he finished sixth behind his archrival in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
The six-year-old gelding has been plagued by injury since then but has made a pleasing return for Pike ahead of the spring.
Pike will still have a runner in the Foxbridge, with Field Of Gold set to be ridden first-up by Kozzi Asano.
The son of Starspangledbanner is also on a path towards Hastings. He has had just the one run on a heavy surface, winning his debut as a three-year-old at Te Rapa last year.
He went on to win two further races, including the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m), and placed in the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m), Group 3 War Decree Stakes (1600m), and Group 2 Auckland Guineas (1600m).
“He will most likely start. He is not brilliant on heavy ground, but he has handled it reasonably well in the past,” Pike said.
“It is a steppingstone for some better races over further ground.
“He has stepped up nicely and his trials have been good. Once he gets to a mile and 2000m he should be a nice chance. I am really happy with the way he has come back.”
Pike will also line-up Outrival and Miss Onaki in the Ocean Park 2400.
“They both won’t mind the ground,” Pike said. “They have performed well on heavy ground before and 2400m will suit. It will be a testing race but they are both genuine stayers.”