Last season’s outstanding juvenile Sword Of State was back in action at the Cambridge trials on Tuesday, where he finished second under a hold over 800m.
The Group One winning son of Snitzel was given an easy time of things by rider Opie Bosson, with his spring campaign looking to get back on track after a minor setback following his initial trial at the same venue on July 20.
Sporting the colours of Cambridge Stud’s Brendan and Jo Lindsay, the Jamie Richards-trained Sword Of State was narrowly shaded by two-time winning stablemate Vincere.
“We had a very small setback with him after his last trial, just a little blood picture that wasn’t quite right, so he has had a couple of easy days since that trial,” Cambridge Stud chief executive Henry Plumptre said.
“He wasn’t asked to go flat out here today as he has another trial in Sydney a week from Friday, all things being equal.
“He has quite a schedule between now and then, including the flight, so I think coming off a little setback we are as happy as we could be.”
Should Sword Of State please in the coming 10 days, the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) on August 28 at Rosehill is a possible starting point, while the Group 2 Run To The Rose (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) are the likely targets.
“His main lead-up race for the Golden Rose is the Run To The Rose, and we have Kerrin McEvoy booked to ride him,” Plumptre said.
“I think we really just have to see how he arrives and how he trials. I like the Sydney trial system, I think it is pretty true. We will get a very good line on him a week on Friday.”
A winner of four of his five starts at two, including the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) in dominant fashion, Sword Of State has never raced beyond 1200m.
“The Golden Rose has often been won by a horse that is actually probably a six-furlong (1200m) horse,” Plumptre said.
“Quite a lot of the winners have come back to the Coolmore (Group 1, 1200m) and either run first or second, so I think the Golden Rose is quite a good benchmark for the Coolmore.
“If he is going well, he will have a run at the Golden Rose, if we are a bit worried about him, he will probably run in a lesser race on the day, the Heritage Stakes (Listed, 1100m) as his kick-off, then go to the Roman Consul (Group 2, 1200m) two weeks later. Then he’ll head to Melbourne off two races for the Coolmore.”
An AUD$600,000 yearling purchase by Te Akau principal David Ellis, Sword Of State is one of 15 individual Group One winners by champion sire Snitzel, with the Cambridge Stud team keen to see the colt further enhance his race record to add to his appeal as a stallion.
“Physically he is a typical son of Snitzel, he is not very big,” Plumptre said. “You don’t really understand how much scope he has till he starts walking, he has a beautiful stride and uses himself well.
“He is never going to be a big horse but as his father proved, you don’t have to be big to be good, a lot of the Snitzels are like that. He has a lovely temperament, which is again a Snitzel thing.”
Group One winning Cambridge Stud-owned stablemates Probabeel and Kahma Lass were due to fly to Melbourne on Wednesday, but a similar blood profile for Probabeel to that of Sword Of State has seen that pair postponed by a week, with Probabeel now a doubtful starter in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
“We’re sitting on Probabeel and we will see how she is, but she looks to be recovering well,” Plumptre said.
“Those little blood pictures and viral things can be a nuisance. The lesson is you don’t rush into them afterwards. She may be a bit late (starting her spring campaign). I doubt she’d run in the Memsie.
“There are a couple of races in early September for her. Hopefully we can get her to Flemington in the first week of October for the Rose Of Kingston Stakes (Group 2, 1400m).
“We will make a decision whether she is a Cox Plate (Group 1, 2040m) mare or an Empire Rose (Group 1, 1600m) mare after that.”
Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) winner Kahma Lass is likely to trial at Flemington before being pointed towards a stakes race as she looks to enhance her CV.
“What we would like to do is give her a trial at Flemington and find a Listed race for her somewhere, like the Valley or Caulfield. I’d like to find a Group Two or Three race for her at Flemington or Caulfield over the carnival for her,” Plumptre said.
While foals have hit the ground at Cambridge Stud, Plumptre said there was a long road ahead.
“We’re very slow on the uptake of the mares that are foaling. We have had three foals, but we have 150 to go,” he said.