A tilt at the equal richest three-year-old race in the country could be on the cards for impressive Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) winner, Madison County.
That was the initial thought of trainer Murray Baker as he took stock of the results for all three of the runners that he and training partner Andrew Forsman lined-up in Saturday’s Group 1 feature at Riccarton.
A $36,000 purchase during the Select session of the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale, Madison County is eligible to contest the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600) at Ellerslie in January.
“He’s a very talented individual, who put in a top performance to win on Saturday,” Baker said.
“It’s never easy to travel them all the way down there and have them produce their best, so I was delighted with what he produced.
“We will have the chance to give him a little break after he completes the trip home during the week and, depending on how he comes through it all, we might take a look at the three-year-old race at Ellerslie.
“That’s a mile as well, which will suit him and is the logical target for him I would think.”
Baker will also assess the recovery of stablemates The Chosen One and Qiji Express upon their return to Cambridge, with both likely to spend a brief period in the spelling paddock.
“Nothing panned out for The Chosen One as he was caught wide throughout,” he said.
“He’s also very talented, but has come a long way in a very short time, so a little freshen-up will do him the world of good.
“Qiji Express was very brave and battled on nicely without really threatening. We will freshen him as well and it might be that he drops back a little in distance for his next campaign.”
A strong finishing burst for third by Mental Telepathy in Saturday’s Listed Redwood Metropolitan Trophy (2500m) has Baker confident of a bold showing by the gelded son of Shocking in the Group 3 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m) on the last day of the Riccarton carnival.
“I thought he made up nice ground after getting well out of it in the early stages,” he said.
“He’s by Shocking out of a Galileo mare, so his breeding suggests he will get two miles, as does his racing pattern.
“If we could strike a similar track to what we had on Saturday then he would have to be a contender.”
The Baker/Forsman team will also have the chance to make it a double in the Riccarton three-year- old features with Valalie set to take her place in the Group 1 Gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).
“Valalie will go to the 1000 Guineas in good shape,” Baker said.
“The mile and the big roomy track will suit her. Her work of late has been very good and she has been building nicely for the race.”