Riverton trainers Kelvin and Aimee Tyler are now eyeing some potential Australian targets with two of their runners after their solid performances at Trentham on Saturday. Dual stakes winner Lightning Jack placed in the Group 2 Wellington Guineas (1400m), while Feel The Rush finished third in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
The Tylers headed into Saturday confident of a strong showing from Lightning Jack after his two prior victories in the Listed Gore Guineas (1335m) Listed Southland Guineas (1600m). “We were over the moon with his run,” Kelvin Tyler said. “It was probably just a bit short of his best. “He is screaming out for at least a mile to 2000m. He was finishing on really good. He was lucky they ran the race really hard, so that suited him. “He is above average and we knew he wouldn’t be far away.”
Tyler was also delighted to see his runner’s Southland form hold up against his northern counterparts. “It’s a bit hard to match up the form of horses from one end of the country to the other, but it just goes to show there isn’t that much difference between racing all over the country,” he said.
While Tyler was delighted with Lightning Jack’s performance, his day got even better when Feel The Rush added a Group 1 placing to her resume. “That was huge,” he said. “She has been screaming out for a mile and a half since the spring, so to get her over 2400m we were really confident. “Our biggest problem was making sure the race was run really true. Luckily they went hard early and we put the pressure on in the other half and made it a true staying 2400m and that suited us, that is why we rode her like that.”
When you are based at the bottom of the South Island, campaigning horses in the north can be a massive undertaking, but Tyler said giving his horses enough time to settle in to their new surroundings is key. “It’s a long way to come,” he said. “Those horses spent 20 hours on the float to get up there. “We left Riverton last Monday. We went to Riccarton and stayed there for a couple of days and then crossed on the ferry on Thursday afternoon and arrived at Trentham at 7pm on Thursday night. “I wanted them to have two nights there because the first night they quite often are still a bit unsure of things, but after the second night they usually have made themselves at home. “That was the same case this time, they took a while to settle in on the first night, but they settled in really well after that.”
The Southland duo will remain in the North Island to target the Group 3 Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni later this month. Tyler was also planning on campaigning both three-year-olds in Australia, however, travelling restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic may put a stop to those plans.
“The long-term plan at the moment is to take them to South Australia for the Oaks and Derby, but with everything happening around the world at the moment I guess things are up in the air,” he said. “We will just have to see how things pan out or whether we just send the horses. When you have got horses at home you can’t be sitting in isolation for a couple of weeks. “It is certainly going to make things difficult moving forward.”