Promising three-year-olds Ayers Rock and Black Vanquish were both gelded during their time in the spelling paddock and their respective trainers are hoping that the ultimate gear change helps them go to another level during the autumn.
Ayers Rock took five starts to break his maiden and he offered very little in a Benchmark 64 event at Sandown on September 2, but he stamped himself as a horse to watch when he finished second in the Listed Morphettville Guineas (1600m) on September 12 before he took out the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on October 4.
The son of Nicconi was not able to replicate that performance when he took on strong fields in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m) and Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m), but trainer Shawn Mathrick is hopeful that the now gelding will be competitive at Group level during his autumn preparation.
“He had four and a half weeks off in the paddock and he got his castrated,” Mathrick told Racing.com.
“He has been in work for three weeks, he is really well and he is bouncy.
“We will see and we will see the difference the castration has made.
“My father said that to get a great gelding you have to cut a good colt, so let’s hope he becomes a great gelding.
“There is a CS Hayes Stakes first-up, but I haven’t planned anything out and we will just see where he is at and how strong he is.”
Black Vanquish showed plenty of ability when he took out the Starlight Children’s Foundation Handicap (1200m) and Listed Thoroughbred Club Cup (1200m) as a two-year-old, but he was unable to replicate that form during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he missed the placings in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 12, the Listed Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on October 14 and the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 31.
Trainer Tom Hughes said that Black Vanquish had been difficult to handle at the races during the spring, but he is optimistic that the gelding operation will help the Lonhro colt settle the next time he is around a big group of horses.
“We had a look at him yesterday and with the hot weather coming up he could possibly be coming in today some time,” Hughes said.
“In between that he has been cut, he has grown and he has done really well.
“He should settle down a bit.
“At the races he was a bit of a handful at his last couple of starts and without his knackers he should settle down.”