John Sargent hopes Royal Witness can finally replicate his success training juveniles in New Zealand when the promising colt makes his debut with the Golden Slipper in mind.
A $60,000 yearling at the Magic Millions sales, Royal Witness will make a belated start to his racing career on his home track on Wednesday when he auditions for the world’s richest race for two-year-olds.
Sargent had mapped out a Magic Millions campaign for Royal Witness but shin soreness held him back.
“I’ve had quite a few runners in the Karaka Million and Group One two-year-old races in New Zealand but none here, so it’s good to have a nice one,” Sargent said.
The TAB lists the colt as a $26 chance for the $3.5 million Group One Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 24.
He was at $2.90 in opening markets on Wednesday’s race and by Tuesday was $2.50.
Sargent is not getting ahead of himself despite Royal Witness working and trialling impressively.
Royal Witness blitzed his first barrier trial by six lengths in October at Randwick and then ran conservatively after a slow start when third to Golden Slipper second-elect Performer at Rosehill last month.
“He’d been galloping well without being outstanding but he trialled very well and showed he’s got something extra,” Sargent said.
“He’s all systems go now, I’m very happy with him though tomorrow will tell us whether he carry on towards bigger things or just stay in the grade.
“It’s crunch time, but that’s what it is to get into those big races.”
Royal Witness will be ridden by Corey Brown, who was in the saddle for both trials, and Sargent is happy with gate five of 10.
“We’ll be able to be on the speed from the draw, so hopefully he’ll be right there in the firing line,” he said.
Sargent also brings reliable provincial stayer Equipped to town for a rare metropolitan run in the Ranvet Handicap (2400m).
“He’s a fit, honest horse and it’s a good chance to run him at Randwick. He’s always knocking on the door, a lot of that field are,” he said.