Another New Zealand raider has set his sights on the $2.1 million Australian Derby, with Jon Snow powering into contention for a focal point of The Championships by blitzing the Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill.
A week after New Zealand Derby winner Gingernuts mastered the same heavy track in Sydney to claim the Rosehill Guineas, Jon Snow backed up on a third placing in Ellerslie on March 4 to score the $200,000 Group Two over 2000m by 2-3/4 lengths.
Providing the three-year-old colt recovers from the ninth run of this preparation, Cambridge-based co-trainer Andrew Forsman indicated Jon Snow would line up in the lucrative Derby at Randwick on Saturday.
The initial signs were positive, with jockey Damian Lane delighted with the effort after heading off Prized Icon ($4.80), with Captain Duffy ($15) three lengths further back in third.
“He’s got a lot of talent. There’s a lot of good form out of the New Zealand Derby. He couldn’t have impressed me any more,” Lane said.
“As we know most of them (New Zealand horses) handle the wet track and they are always rock-hard fit so it takes them a long way.”
Forsman, who trains with Murray Baker, said a call would be made on the Derby early next week but he felt Jon Snow would be staying put, noting Sydney’s wet weather had been beneficial.
“He’s been running on hard tracks so the slowness in the ground really helped him. All things being equal, he should back up,” Forsman said.
“We’ll have a talk to the owners. I’m sure they’ll all want a trip over here so hopefully he comes through it well and we can have a crack at least.”
Since returning from a spell in October, Jon Snow has won once – as the $2.70 favourite – and placed five times.
“It’s been a great roll. You’ve got to make the most of it in this game. There’s plenty of lows,” Forsman said.
“He’s a big, gangly sort of horse. He’s only just maturing now.
“He just keeps stepping up. He’s so genuine and honest. He’s not the most robust-looking horse but he’s got a great temperament and a great constitution.”