Trainer John Bary is looking for a strong performance from Jimmy Choux at Hastings tomorrow as he begins his Australian Cox Plate campaign.
The New Zealand four-year-old will be having his first-up run in the Group 1 Challenge Stakes against some of the country’s biggest spring hopes.
Bary anticipates the track could reach a Dead rating, despite the rain that barraged the course last week.
“I think it’ll go to a dead (or) possibly slow 7,” Bary said.
“We did have a bit of rain last week.”
Jimmy Choux will enjoy the luxury of running at his local track tomorrow, while much of his competition, including Scarlett Lady, will be forced to travel.
“I’m not scared of travelling… (but) it certainly does help (being at home),” he said.
“They’re at home in their own paddock.”
It will be just the second time that Jimmy Choux has graced the track at Hastings, with his only other run being when he won the Group 2 N.Z. Insurance Bloodstock Guineas last October.
“(It was in) the Guineas last year (which was) 1,400 metres – the same distance as tomorrow,” Bary said.
The rain in New Zealand has caused the cancellation of a number of crucial trials and Bary fears that Jimmy Choux may be slightly underdone for tomorrow’s race.
“I missed a trial is the only thing,” he said.
“(But) he’s had some really nice… gallops.
“We’re all fresh-up … so it’s a bit of an even playing field.
“It’s just a great field and it’s great for racing in New Zealand.”
Bary will leave regular jockey Jonathan Riddell to decide where in the field to place Jimmy Choux, who has drawn barrier ten for the race.
“Mufhasa the front runner has drawn eight inside us,” Bary said.
“I’ll leave it to Jonathan.
“Open minded we’ll go into it… and see where he ends up.
“It’s not crucial to be drawn inside
“If your outside you have the option.
“It’s not easy and they don’t give them too you (but) he’s ready to rumble tomorrow.
“He will improve from (tomorrow’s run).
“There’s only 13 in it and they’re all there with a chance, they’re not slugs out there tomorrow.”
Jimmy Choux is expected to go to the Cox Plate in October with just two lead-up runs under his belt.
Bary feels that the $3 million race is made for his talented Thorn Park entire.
“He is a sprinter miler and he has an explosive burst,” he said.
“It’s almost tailor made for him.”
The trainer is not expected to have a bet on Jimmy Choux in tomorrow’s Challenge Stakes.
“I’m not a bit punter of my horses, I feel that clouds judgement,” he said.
“I’m there to win with every horse I sent out.”