Trainer Donna Logan has denied claims that Volkstok’n’barrell has been sold to interests in Hong Kong and she confirmed that the Group 1 winner remains on track to return to Australia for the 2015 Cox Plate.
There were reports yesterday afternoon that a long touted multi-million-dollar deal to buy Volkstok’n’barrell had been completed, but Logan told The New Zealand Racing Desk this morning that this was not the case and remains under her care at her Ruakaka base.
Volkstok’n’barrell was sent to the spelling paddock after he returned to New Zealand following his gallant third place finish in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 6 and Logan said that the rising four-year-old had come on during his time away from the stable.
“He’s bigger and stronger and I honestly haven’t seen him so well,” Logan said.
“He’s bouncing around, but he is much more mentally mature and he knows what he’s here for.
“He knows he’s a racehorse now.”
Volkstok’n’barrell stamped himself as a horse to watch when he recorded a dominant victory in the Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on September 27 last year and he started his summer campaign with wins in the Super Fence Handicap (1300m), the Group 2 Great Northern Guineas (1600m) and the Listed Karaka Mile (1600m) before he was beaten by Mongolian Khan in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m).
Despite the Avondale Guineas defeat, Volkstok’n’barrell started the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) as a clear favourite, but he was outstayed by Mongolian Khan in a thrilling contest.
Volkstok’n’barrell was able to turn-the-tables on Mongolian Khan when he made his Australian racing debut with a win in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and he was far from disgraced when third Australian Derby.
The Lord Tavistock’s geldings performances during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival has convinced Logan that Volkstok’n’barrell is capable of competing at the highest level in Australia and she is thrilled to have a horse that she believes is a genuine Cox Plate contender.
“We are looking through the programs and he may kick off in Melbourne, rather than New Zealand, but the Cox Plate is the target,” Logan said.
“It’s very, very exciting and he’s a reason to get up every morning.”
Volkstok’n’barrell is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $26 with Ladbrokes, while Contributer ($8) is a narrow favourite from Criterion ($9), Pornichet ($11) and Kermadec ($13).