There was no way former Caulfield girl Jenny Chapman was going to miss being trackside when co-favourite Property raced in the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes, even if it was not part of the original plan.
Property was meant to follow the successful Price Bloodstock formula of buying Australian horses to target the Hong Kong market.
But a failed veterinary examination led to a change in plans and Australian races for the Robert Smerdon-trained gelding.
“That’s not our preferred option, let’s put it that way, but this was a nice option,” Chapman said.
Now best known for her role as the mounting yard analyst for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, “Jenny from the paddock” is a former leading jockey and daughter of late Caulfield trainer Kel Chapman.
It was that connection that convinced Chapman to make the quick trip back for Victoria’s premier juvenile race, before returning to Hong Kong in time for Sunday’s Sha Tin race meeting.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done it and it was just because it is the Blue Diamond and I’m an old Caulfield girl and my dad trained here, and I just thought well I’ve got the opportunity.”
Whether Property ends up with a future in Hong Kong or continues racing in Australia is yet to be decided after his fifth in the Blue Diamond.
Champion Hong Kong jockey Joao Moreira who rode him in the Diamond has a good opinion of the two-year-old, Chapman said.
“He said he’s probably not quite there yet but he thinks in three to six months’ time he’ll be the same as those horses.”
There has already been renewed interest from Hong Kong in Property so he will be put through the extensive vet clearance process again.
Whether Property continues to race in Australia is up in the air, Chapman said.
“He’s fifty/fifty to either stay here or go. It’s a result for us either way I suppose.”
Chapman and husband David Price have 110 Australian and New Zealand horses on the books but will likely boost that number to 125 or 130 after the remaining Australasian yearling sales.
Then comes the long process of educating the youngsters and seeing how they go under trainers like Smerdon and Patrick Payne, with Hong Kong clients in mind.
“It’s a very long process,” Chapman said.
“It’s as thorough as we can possibly do it with the result of sending the best horses there.”