Lockdown forces stable switch

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Not An Option

Three quality gallopers from the Tony Pike team have transferred to Australian stables in a bid to finish their campaigns in Sydney. Group 1 winners The Bostonian and Sherwood Forest have switched stables to tackle the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) respectively, while Group Two-winning juvenile Not An Option will run in Pike’s name in the Group 3 Schweppervescence (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday but will be saddled by a fellow trainer.

With New Zealand going into lockdown due to the threat of Covid-19 from 11:59pm on Wednesday, the decision was made for staff members Chris McNab and Mark Hills to return home on Tuesday, 24-hours before the lockdown. “We sent the horses to a spelling farm while the staff came back yesterday afternoon,” Pike said. “After discussions with owners and there is a little bit of confidence that they would continue racing over there, at least in the short term, so we’ve arranged for those horses to go to other trainers for their final races of the carnival.

“Not An Option has gone to Richard Freedman. He was in the barn beside us at Rosehill, so he has taken him over just for the next four days until he runs on Saturday. “Sherwood Forest has headed to Bjorn Baker’s. I have just been in touch with him and he has arrived in good shape from the spelling farm. “The Bostonian has headed to John O’Shea’s, just to finish his preparation off in the All Aged Stakes.”

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained duo of Quick Thinker and The Chosen One have been integrated into the stable of Baker’s son Bjorn, where the pair were domiciled under the care of travelling foreperson Aliesha Legg, who also returned to New Zealand on Tuesday.

Quick Thinker has drawn barrier 2 in Saturday’s Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) and will be ridden by James McDonald, who was impressed by his last start placing in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) “After his third placing behind those star fillies (Funstar and Probabeel), he looks pretty well placed in a race like that,” McDonald said. “He wouldn’t be running scared of anything in that field. They’re all very similar sort of horses and they’re all trying to get to a Derby and this is a bit of a back door. “If rain comes about, it only enhances his chances.”

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