New Zealand trainer Alan Tait has revealed that he is eyeing the 2014 Caulfield Guineas with talented gelding Southern Icon.
Southern Icon made his racing debut with a one and a half length win over Johnhro in the Redwood Challenge Maiden (800m) at Ruakaka on May 21 and the Big Brown gelding did enough to suggest to Tait that he was worthy of a trip to Australia for the 2014 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival; with the rising three-year-old set to follow the same path as fellow Kiwi El Roca did during last year’s spring carnival.
“Everyone dreams of it and Trent (Busuttin) did it last year,” Tait told The New Zealand Racing Desk.
“They won at Ruakaka and were on a plane over there.
“He (El Roca) was a certainty beaten in the Guineas.”
Tai revealed that Southern Icon would have his second race start at Ruakaka this weekend and would head to Australia after making his black type racing debut in the Listed Westbury Stud Challenge Stakes (1200m), a race that was won by Sacred Falls in 2012, at Whangarei in September.
Tai is clearly excited at the prospect of having his first runner in Australia after missing out on the opportunity to take 2012 Levin Classic winner Southern Lord to Melbourne for a spring campaign after he was sold to Singapore.
“He’s going back there on Saturday and I think he’s improved a lot,” Tait said.
“He looks really good and I’m happy with him.
“He’ll go back again a month later for the Westbury Stud Challenge Stakes and if he’s as good as I think he is then he’ll go to Australia.
“I was going to take Southern Lord over there until I did a deal with Mark Walker for him to go to Singapore.”
A New Zealand-trained horse has not been successful in the Caulfield Guineas since Our Maizcay scored an impressive win as a short-priced favourite in the 1995 edition of the race.
Our Maizcay won seven races as a juvenile in New Zealand and made his Australian racing debut with a second place finish behind Octagonal in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) before finishing fourth in the 1995 edition of the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
The son of Maizcay scored his maiden race win in Australia in the Group 2 San Domenico Stakes (1000m) and he won the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1200m), Group 3 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Ascot Vale Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) before scoring a most impressive victory in the Caulfield Guineas.