Group 1 winner Sword Of State is set to make his first start in Australia when he lines up in the San Domenico Stakes at Kembla Grange this Saturday.
Trained by Jamie Richards in New Zealand, the Te Akau-owned youngster has won four of his five starts, winning the Group 1 Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie in his most recent outing on March 13 when beating stablemate and fellow Group 1 winner On The Bubbles by 3.5 lengths.
The three-year-old son of Snitzel trialled at Randwick on Friday when finishing fourth behind speedsters Lost And Running and Marway over 850m, which would have ticked him over nicely ahead of Saturday’s 1100m Group 3 at Kembla Grange.
“He’s in good shape,” Richards told Racing.com’s After The Last program on Monday night.
“He was a little bit like Probabeel; got held up with a bit of a temperature – it doesn’t seem to happen with the slow ones unfortunately, just the better ones.
“But he’s had a couple quiet trials on the synthetic and then he trialled at Randwick in that good heat with Lost And Running and Stay Inside and those sorts of horses and I thought he held his own.
“He’s going to have a nice hit out on the course proper tomorrow at Randwick and then we’ll hopefully crack on to the San Domenico.
“But as you say, it’s a great rendition of the race; there’s a lot of quality there and we certainly aren’t taking for granted how big a task it’s going to be.
“I think he’s got a little bit of improvement to come from that trial, and obviously gets the hood on on race day which will be helpful as well.”
Sword Of State has been nominated for both the Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas, but he looks likely to remain in Sydney to target the former before a potential trip to Melbourne later in the spring.
“I think we’ll just follow that tried and true path at the moment: San Domenico into the Run to the Rose and then possibly look at going seven furlongs in the Golden Rose,” Richards said.
“Then obviously you’ve got the Coolmore (Stud Stakes) down the straight there at Flemington, which is a race that we’d like to target as well.
“He’s a great colt in New Zealand; we were very close to bringing him over in the autumn for races like the Slipper or the Sires’, but unfortunately it rained, and he doesn’t really appreciate that sort of going, so we’re coming over to have a crack in the spring, but it does seem to be a very rich group of colts, so it’s going to be interesting to see where he fits in.”
Sword Of State is currently a $10 chance in the San Domenico, which sees Golden Slipper winner Stay Inside resume alongside impressive first-up winner Paulele and the talented Remarque.
The New Zealander has firmed into $17 for the Golden Rose from his original quote of $31, while he is a $15 chance in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on October 30.