Trainer Johno Benner has revealed that the 2014 Caulfield Guineas is on the agenda for New Zealand Group 1 winner Vespa.
Vespa made his racing debut with a close second in The Sound Handicap (800m) at Wanganui in September last year before he stamped himself as a colt to watch with a dominant four and a half lengths win in the Central Automotive Handicap (800m) at Otaki on November 14.
The Elusive City colt made his debut at Group level with an unlucky third behind Vinnie Eagle and Steel Rose in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day before he scored his maiden black type win with an all the way victory in the Listed Karaka Millions (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 26.
Vespa went into the Group 1 Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 8 as a dominant favourite and he was pushed all the way by O’Marilyn, but was still able to take out the Group 1 event.
The three-year-old was sent to the spelling paddock after his Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes and is set to return to the races in the Listed Westbury Stud Northland Breeders’ Stakes at Ruakaka; with a trip to Australia for a Caulfield Guineas tilt on the line for the talented colt.
“It’s hard turning a good two-year-old into a better three-year-old, but I’m very happy with him and he’s showing us all the right signs,” Benner told Racing Ahead.
“If he can win at Ruakaka then we’ve got the option of putting him on the airplane for Australia the following Wednesday.
“Obviously it’s a tough pool of horses to race against, but if he won this weekend then I think we would be stupid not to go and have a crack at them,” Benner said.
“He’s a Group One-winning colt and any black type in Australia would boost his value as a future stallion and that’s the aim with him.
“He’s bigger now and he’s a lot stronger, he really has furnished into a lovely horse.”
No New Zealand-trained horse has won the Caulfield Guineas since Graeme Rogerson-trained Econsul defeated Barely A Moment and Under Command to win the 2004 edition of the race, while Trent Busuttin-trained El Roca finished a luckless fifth behind Long John in last year’s race.
Vespa is currently available at 2014 Caulfield Guineas odds of $51.