Gilgai Stakes Ambition for Spieth

Warwick Farm-based Kiwi horseman Bryce Heys has put his progressive colt Spieth away for a winter spell with an ambitious eye on a spring return in Melbourne’s Gilgai Stakes in early October.


Spieth could target the 2016 Gilgai Stakes at Flemington in early October this coming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. Photo: Steve Hart.

Originally Heys was considering a Flemington run Saturday week for the son of Thorn Park in the $120,000 Listed A.R. Creswick Series Final (1200m).

Instead the Sydney-trained youngster has gone to the paddock for a brief break before making a raid on the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, the decision made after Heys travelled to Victoria on Thursday to assess the up-and-comer.

“It was probably always the preference and plan to have a break now so we can get him back down here in the spring,” Heys told Racing Victoria.

“That has been the focus for 12 months, since he was down here last time, and how we can prepare him better to perhaps have him run in some nice races in the spring if he is good enough.

“The best thing for the horse is to have a short turnaround now, I didn’t want to run the risk of having one run too many and then having an even shorter turnaround in terms of getting him back, he is in really good order, it will just be beneficial to let him have a short break now.”

To date Spieth has had seven starts for a stellar record of four wins and a second.

Three of those victories came on the trot this time in as he saluted over 1200m at Kembla Grange, 1100m at Rosehill on May 21 defeating King’s Troop by nearly two lengths and over the same distance at Flemington last Saturday.

He has twice been tested in Group class and those runs remain his only times out of the money.

Last September he finished a close seventh behind Bon Aurum defeated only 1.65 lengths in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).

Then first-up this autumn he ran at Randwick during ‘The Championships’ on April 9, but only managed to finish nearly six lengths back for a 10th as a 51/1 roughie behind Chris Waller’s Group 1 winner Japonisme in the Group 1 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m).

After that Heys dropped him notably back in class to regain winning form and confidence.

Looking at first-up options next prep for Spieth, Heys said the $200,000 Group 2 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 10 looked ideal, but may roll around too soon.

“We are not getting too carried away, we are in the middle of winter, we aren’t in the middle of a carnival in terms of his form but we would still like to give him an opportunity [to win a Group race in the spring] if he is good enough,” he said.

“The Bobbie Lewis is probably perfect for him but we do run the risk that it is a fraction early, whether or not the Gilgai might be a touch ambitious at this stage, which it probably is, we can make a decision closer to the time.

“Timing-wise, around the start of October is when we would like to see him kick off down here.”

The $200,000 Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) runs at Flemington on Turnbull Stakes Day on the first weekend of October.

Heys added there was already lots of genuine interest from several studs regarding Spieth’s post-racing career in the breeding barn.

“There is a lot of interest in the horse from a commercial point of view and on those fronts, in terms of different parties that are interested, it is neither here nor there to them whether he was to run in two weeks,” he said.

“That had a factor in the decision as well, but the horse, first things first and getting back down here in the spring, is the other objective.”

About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the horseracing.com.au team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.

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