A delay is securing a suitable flight could postpone Articus’ Queensland debut in the Group 2 $358,000 Attwood Marshall A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
If a flight from Melbourne can’t be scheduled in time to make it to the Gold Coast for Saturday, Articus will go around in the first race at Flemington on Saturday, the $100,000 Chairman’s Club Handicap (1800m), before heading to Queensland for the Group 1 $650,000 Hardy Brothers Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 20.
Luke Murrell, who is the Director of Australian Bloodstock who part own Articus, said that they were keen to get the German import to Queensland for the weekend and were hoping a flight would become available on Friday morning.
“It’s our intention to get him there, but we keep getting shuffled back on the flights. We’re hopeful of getting one Friday morning,” Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell told The Courier Mail.
Murrell is certain the five year old stallion is up to Group 1 company even though he has been well beaten at his only two Australia starts for leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir.
At his first Australian start during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival Articus was sent out as one of the top fancies but never threatened to finish nine lengths from the winner Jameka in thirteenth position in the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield.
A similar story followed at his next start when thirteenth again to Hooked in Group 3 $150,000 Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on April 15.
“After the Caulfield Cup, we were just gutted,” Murrell said.
“We were really confident there, he had worked well, but he just didn’t get around Caulfield.
“That’s the only excuse we could find. Then first-up, he would have probably preferred a wetter track, but we were happy enough with the run.”
Murrell said that Weir was happy with Articus’ progress since his first up effort at Caulfield and is keen to pursue a Group 1 campaign in Queensland.
“I said if he had any concerns we were happy to go to Adelaide to win a race, and Darren said he didn’t want to dodge anything with this horse,” Murrell said.
“If you’d seen some of his private jump outs, you would be pretty happy as an owner. The only proviso is that he has to do it race day.”
“I know it looks like he’s had two common runs on paper, but he has a lot of ability and I take confidence in what Darren thinks of the horse.”
Local jockey Paul Hammersley takes the mount on Articus who has drawn the outside barrier in the A.D. Hollindale Stakes that has been reduced to eleven runner with the early scratching of Shoreham and is currently rated a $14 chance at Ladbrokes.com.au while in the Doomben Cup he is marked at $11.
Doncaster Mile winner It’s Somewhat heads the market order for the A.D. Hollindale Stakes at $3.50 ahead of the Chris Waller trained McCreery at $5, Group 1 winning mare Single Gaze at $5.50 and Kris Lees’ Sense Of Occasion at $6.50.