Spring Tide to contest Arrowfield Stud Plate

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Spring Tide

John Bary is confident Spring Tide won’t find the distance beyond him when he contests the Group 1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) at Hastings on Saturday.

Runner-up in the last two editions of the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), Spring Tide has only raced once past that distance, finishing eighth in last year’s renewal of Saturday’s event while in the stable of Foxton trainer Chrissy Bambry.

However, that race came at the end of a seven-race winter campaign, and it was on a track rated a Good 4, conditions in which Spring Tide has yet to finish in the top three in four starts.

The Hastings track was rated a Heavy 9 on Tuesday morning and with more rain forecast Bary expects a Heavy 10 rating come Saturday.

“Last year he may have been coming to the end of it, but I didn’t have him last year and so I can’t really comment,” Bary said.

“But in my experience this year, I’m very comfortable he’s going to get a mile. He is quirky, but provided he loads and everything goes well there, he’s a live chance when the gates open.”

The Arrowfield Stud Plate will be just the second raceday start for Spring Tide in Bary’s stable, and he said the horse’s preparation has been very unusual for him.

“Nowhere near have I galloped him the same way I have my other Group One horses. I’ve just let him do it on his own – whatever he wanted to do, let him be a horse,” he said.

“I felt he didn’t need it – he’d raced a couple of times in the winter so he had that residual fitness, and as a horse he just mentally didn’t need to gallop a lot, so we’ve just played his game and he’s a happy horse doing things nicely.”

With leading Tarzino players Dark Destroyer and Imperatriz absent, Bary should have a good chance of adding to previous victories he’s scored in this race with Jimmy Choux (2011) and Callsign Mav last year.

“His gallop was very good this morning,” Bary said. “The rain certainly doesn’t disadvantage him as much as a couple of the better ones.”

Bary also has a leading chance in the Group 2 AHD Hawke’s Bay Guineas with his exciting filly Best Seller, winner of the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m).

“Today’s gallop was probably the best I’ve ever seen her do – just dead-arrow straight and she probably wouldn’t have blown a candle out afterwards,” he said.

“She’s still got a ways to come in her coat, but the way the weather has been and at this time of the year I’m not worried about it. Within herself internally she’s doing very well.”

Best Seller produced some good efforts as a two-year-old, most notably finishing second in the Group 2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) behind champion two-year-old Maven Belle, but he said bad luck with race cancellations among other things gave her an interrupted preparation.

However, she has looked very good with two victories this season with late runs from well off the pace, and Bary said she would adopt similar tactics even if there isn’t much pace on Saturday.

“We had to run her out of her comfort zone in the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes because there was a front-runners bias that day,” he said.

“It’s hard to know if there will be much pace in the Guineas and with the rail out that’s obviously going to be a bit of a worry, but her natural pattern is to get back, relax and come at them, then I don’t want to change that style. I’ve done that in the past and you can come unstuck.

“Dynastic looks the one to beat but we get two kilos off him with the fillies’ allowance and I’m very happy that we’re sitting here waiting for them all to come and play with us in our own back yard.”

Bary said the ultimate aim is to have Best Seller ready for the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November.

Also set to contest the Hawke’s Bay Guineas, provided he gets in the field, is Bary’s three-start maiden runner Te Awa Bay, who finished seventh to Dynastic last start.

Bary said Te Awa Bay had shown him enough ability for him to consider this race and to look towards the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) in November.

“He’ll handle the track and just looks like a big strong mile-plus horse in the making. You’ve got to have a go because it’s a Group Two and it’s on our back doorstep,” he said.

“If he doesn’t get in he’ll go to Taupo next week.”

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