Trainer Clayton Chipperfield had plenty of thoughts running through his mind shortly after the start of Saturday’s Group 3 Henley Park Mr Tiz Trophy (1200m) although not many of them are printable.
Star galloper Catalyst had ambled away from the barrier and was a conspicuous last in running on the hot speed being set up front. Chipperfield immediately began to second guess the decision that saw the son of Darci Brahma start without blinkers for the first time in his career. “I thought straight away we might have made a blue in taking the hood off,” he said.
“However, when I’ve watched the replay a couple of times you can see he actually anticipated the start and smashed his head on the front of the gate. “As he steps back the gates have opened so that’s why he has missed the kick. “I can confirm now he won’t be wearing the hood for his first run in Australia. “When you look at it, we couldn’t add a hood to help him out in the last 600m as he couldn’t have been more impressive than he was.”
Chipperfield was shaking his head after the race at just how easily Catalyst had closed the gap on his rivals approaching the home turn on Saturday and then put them away in the home straight. “He can just get himself going in a few strides,” he said. “You can put him anywhere you like in a race and he can catch them and put them away so quick. “He was eight lengths off them approaching the turn and by halfway up the straight he was home.”
Chipperfield’s attention now turns to Australia with Catalyst booked on a flight to Melbourne in two weeks as he prepares for a start in the Group 3 CS Hayes (1400m) at Flemington. “He (Catalyst) travelled home last night and put his head straight in the feed bin,” he said. “He had a bit of a run around his paddock this morning and is nice and free so he has come through the race well, although he will take plenty of improvement from it.
“He is on the plane to Melbourne in a fortnight and will line-up in the CS Hayes six days later. “His main target is the Australian Guineas (Group 1, 1600m) two weeks after that although we will be looking to make a statement first up as he is still well in contention for a start in the All-Star Mile (March 14).”
The final field for the A$5million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield is primarily decided by public vote with Chipperfield aware that his star needs more support to take one of the 10 automatic spots decided by that vote. “I think voting closes the day after the CS Hayes so it would be good to see him win or go really well so the Australian public get in behind him,” Chipperfield said. “We know he has a big New Zealand following but we need that Aussie interest to get him over the line.”