New Zealand trainer Graham Richardson is looking at a Queensland winter campaign to get some compensation for the bad luck that Aspen Colorado suffered at Trentham on Saturday.
Aspen Colorado was a fast-finishing third in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m), only getting clear in the final 150m. Richardson, who trains in partnership with Rogan Norvall, said he believed Aspen Colorado was good enough to take on the fillies in Australia and she would be set for the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 4.
“We were talking to Kylie Bax (syndicate manager) last night and this morning about working some kind of a plan to lead up to the Queensland Oaks,” he said.
“She’ll probably have a little bit of time out at Kylie’s place first, do some pre-training there, and then get her moving towards Queensland.”
Richardson said he might have considered the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 9 but the late entry fee and the likelihood of a wet track worked against her.
“Nine times out of 10, those tracks in Sydney have been really wet,” he said. “There’s no point paying AUD$22,000 and scratching her on the day because the track’s too wet.
“In Queensland, one year it can be a good track and the next it can be wet, whereas it always seems to be wet there (Sydney).”
Richardson was philosophical about the bad luck Aspen Colorado suffered in the New Zealand Oaks.
“That was obviously disappointing, but that’s racing. It’s a bit of a hard luck story but you’ve got to take those things on the chin,” he said.
“I just know she’s a very good filly, and once she works out what she’s out there for, and she hasn’t yet, she could be a very good open handicapper next year in some black type races.”
He said it was unlikely any other team members would accompany Aspen Colorado to Queensland.
“You have to be a real handy horse to go to Australia these days,” he said.
Richardson and Norvall have won 15 races this season, the most notable being the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) on Boxing Day with Tiptronic.
The eight-year-old is still in training after his fourth-place finish in the Group 1 Bonecrusher Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on March 13 and could race one more time this season in the Group 2 Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) at Awapuni on April 2.
“We’ve still got him in work, just on the chance we get a decent track for Awapuni, though it doesn’t look like we will get it that way,” Richardson said.
Richardson’s speedy filly Bonny Lass is also about to return to the stable following her third placing in the Listed Mufhasa Stakes (1400m) on March 5.
“She’s doing well and she will be set for the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (Group 3, 1200m) at Te Rapa on April 30,” Richardson said.
In the meantime, Richardson and Norvall are looking to start promising filly Canadian Girl and the two-win mare North Of Havana at Tauranga on Saturday. They also have Devotioninmotion and Composure due to start in maiden races at Pukekohe on Wednesday, though Devotioninmotion may not start if the track is too wet.