Taranaki trainer John Wheeler believes he has another exciting juvenile by Grangewilliam Stud stallion Zed on his hands, with the athletic prowess to mirror his star-studded ownership, which includes All Black first five-eighth Beauden Barrett.
He trained Irish Flame to win the Group 3 2YO Classic (1200m) at New Plymouth two years ago and he is hoping stablemate Beaudz Well is capable of reaching those same lofty heights. While the progeny of Zed are known to get better with time, Wheeler said he is not afraid to run them as juveniles if they show promise. “I’m probably the only one who has won a Group race with a Zed (as a two-year-old),” he said.
“I don’t have a problem running Zed’s if they are natural horses and he’s a natural runner. The Zed’s are very good horses. Verry Elleegant is a great horse and she is only a three-year- old. “The poorer Zed’s handle wet tracks and take a bit of time, but the better ones have got more athleticism. This one’s mother was pretty quick.”
Wheeler trained Beaudz Well’s dam Celtic Rose to five career victories and he holds a lot of hope for the future of her juvenile son who will have his first start in the Waitomo Petroleum/Foxpine Logging 1200 at Awapuni on Saturday. “I’m pretty happy with him. He has had a few jumpouts and he has acquitted himself well. I like the horse a lot,” Wheeler said. “First-up is probably a bit much given he hasn’t had a lot of trials. I can’t really see him winning, but he will be thereabouts and acquit himself well. “He’ll end up being a pretty good horse I think.”
Beaudz Well, who was bred by John and Carole Lynskey, is made up of an interesting ownership group, which includes the geldings namesake Beauden Barrett, Hurricanes teammate James Marshall, and Highlanders cult hero Marty Banks. “There are a few footballers in the ownership group with Beauden Barrett, Marty Banks and a couple of others,” Wheeler said. “I know Beauden’s family quite well and John Lynskey borrowed the mare off me and sent her to Zed. He’s really keen on rugby and is a mate of the Barrett’s as well, that’s how it came about. “I think Beauden talked with Marty Banks and a couple of other blokes and it has gone on from there. “I knew Beauden’s old man really well and it is a terrific family who have done well, which is an understatement really.”
Meanwhile, Wheeler is on his way to America where he is leading a 25-strong tour party that will take in the last two legs of the famed triple crown. “I am taking a team off to America for the Preakness and the Belmont,” he said. “I took a tour to Cheltenham a couple of years ago with 60 people and it has just gone on from there. I’ll probably take a tour group to Ascot next year. “Most of them are racing people and they are tremendous people that we take. They are outstanding tourists and it’s good fun.”