Leaving the husband at home to look after the kids while you head to Queensland for a few weeks probably sounds enticing to a lot of Kiwi women at the moment.
That dream has turned into a reality for New Zealand trainer Emma Clotworthy, who has been enjoying the warmer climate of the Sunshine State over the last three weeks while looking after former stable runner Hezashocka.
The son of Shocking was purchased by OTI Racing after his victory in the Group 2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie last month and transferred to Australian trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr.
Clotworthy has retained a share in the three-year-old and it was decided that the gelding would remain in her care in the lead-up to the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
While keeping in regular contact with her new trainers, Clotworthy said nothing has really changed in the lead-up to his first tilt at elite-level, except for his training environment.
“We have kept 10 percent of him, just enough to have a bit of interest,” Clotworthy said.
“It would be nice to have a bit more, but it is too hard in New Zealand, so this is where he is destined to be anyway.
“Mick has been here the last week, but we have pretty much just carried on the same type of prep as what we would have done at home. We haven’t tried to change too much.
“We have a chat about what he is going to do, but we are pretty much on the same page.
“He has let me fuss around him and get him 100 percent. He has been good.”
Clotworthy has enjoyed the warmer climate of Queensland and said Hezashocka has settled in well to his new environment.
“The weather over here is awesome. I would like to winter over here all the time,” she quipped.
“I came across on the 10th (of May) with him, so he has had a while to settle in and he travelled really well considering he hadn’t done any travelling before. Box life is obviously a bit different over here, he’s probably missing the paddocks, but other than that he has settled in pretty well.”
Clotworthy is happy with her charge heading into Saturday’s Derby, but she expects him to continue to improve and believes he will furnish into a better horse in the spring.
“We had a gallop on the course proper the other day and he seemed to handle the track,” she said.
“I think he will be a nicer four-year-old, he has still got a bit of growing to do to fill out.
“He has got a really good head on him. I think he will be a nice Cup horse, that is potentially his go.
“But he has done everything right and I think he is in with a bit of a show (in the Derby).”
Back home in New Zealand, the Clotworthys will line-up three runners at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Orakei Overlord will contest the Jon Snow at Clearview Park 1600 and he will get some weight relief from his 61.5kg impost with two-kilogram claiming apprentice Masa Hashizime aboard.
“He is an older horse and he has got a few issues himself,” Clotworthy said. “He will appreciate the softer tracks. He does a lot of swimming. He usually goes pretty well first-up.”
Stable newcomers Modesty and Double Happy will make-up the stable’s trio in the Scope Painting 1300 and Dads Pies 1500 respectively.
“Modesty has been through a few stables with a few issues, so hopefully we have worked through them,” Clotworthy said. “She is a really nice horse and I think she will handle the wetter tracks.
“Double Happy has just come into our stables from Nigel Tiley. We have been doing a bit of jumping with him. We have had about six go to Australia in the last three months.”
Back in Queensland, Clotworthy isn’t looking forward to returning to New Zealand’s cold winter after this weekend where she may be able to watch Hezashocka race one more time this preparation.
“I suppose I will have to come back after the weekend,” she said. “I will be a bit sad (to leave) because it is quite nice. It is amazing how much time you spend on one horse, but I seem to be busy all day anyway.
“I don’t know what the plan is for him after that. There could be a race in a few weeks, otherwise he will go for a spell up this way where it is warmer.”