Bullrush enjoying new surroundings in New Zealand

Waikato Stud has made the switch from Australia to New Zealand with six-year-old mare Bullrush after its form tapered off last season.

AUSTRALIAN punters might remember Bullrush starting its career with Hawkes Racing where it won its first five race day starts, but it has since been moved to New Zealand for new surroundings.

The well-bred son of O’Reilly was moved to the stables of Moira and Kieran Murdoch in Pukekohe after owners and breeders, Waikato Stud (Mark and Garry Chittick), decided to change tact with the six-year-old.

The move followed some disappointing form in Australia after its five consecutive wins. Bullrush ran second behind Extensible at Rosehill which is solid form, but it failed to impress in two starts at Randwick – finishing seventh in both.

Its last start in Australia was a fifth in the Abell Stakes at Moonee Valley, but the performance wasn’t enough to keep Bullrush in the country and a new life near the beach could do it some good this season.

“He was in Australia and Garry and Mark brought him home because his form had gone off a little,” co-trainer Moira Murdoch told Horsebetting.com.au. “They thought he might like a preparation at the beach, which he did.”

Like many trainers in New Zealand which have endured a long and record-setting winter, Murdoch is waiting for the tracks to dry up, but Hastings this Saturday should be run on a solid surface.

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“We’re still waiting for the tracks to dry out. I think it (Hastings) was a good 4 yesterday,” said Murdoch, who isn’t expecting Bullrush to come out of the gates firing on all cylinders just yet.

“He had a jump out at Pukekohe last week so he’s extremely fresh, but it’s only 1200m.

“We’ll go down there and no doubt he’ll improve with the run.”

Murdoch said the son of O’Reilly has settled into the stable well and New Zealand punters will get a chance to see a rare Australian-performed sprinter line up in the Hawaiian Airlines Fashions in the Field Handicap on Livamol Classic day.

“He’s a lovely animal, a beautiful animal,” she said. “He’s certainly a pleasure to have around and to do anything with.

“He does everything he’s asked, it just depends what he wants to produce on race day, but he’s happy and healthy so it’d be nice to see him run a good race.”

Whether or not Bullrush will return to Australia is still up in the air, but Murdoch is certainly relishing the chance to train a quality import.

“I think they’re (Waikato Stud) totally in their own mind with what they’ll do,” Murdoch said.

“I’m just enjoying having him at present.”