Trainer Shaune Ritchie has confirmed that New Zealand Derby placegetter Glorious Lad will head to Brisbane for a winter carnival campaign, but revealed that the consistent gelding is no certainty to contest the Group 1 Queensland Derby(2400m).
Glorious Lad stepped up to 2400 metres for the first time in his racing career in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie on March 1 and was far from disgraced, but Ritchie told The New Zealand Racing Desk that he is unsure whether the son of Falkirk is capable of running a strong 2400 metres.
The three-year-old will begin his 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign in the Group 3 Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm on April 26 before contesting the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2020m) at Doomben on May 10 and the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at the same venue a fortnight later; with Ritchie to then access whether it is worth entering the promising gelding for the Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm on June 7.
“I’m not yet convinced he’s a genuine mile and a-half (2400m) horse and he wobbled a bit in the straight at Ellerslie,” Ritchie said.
“He’ll head to Queensland and go over early and probably run in the Gunsynd Classic and then the two longer races.”
Glorious Lad is yet to breakthrough for a victory at Group level, but has been remarkably consistent; finishing behind Puccini in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (1600m) at Te Rapa on February 1, the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie on February 15 and the New Zealand Derby.
Ritchie does not think that Glorious Lad is capable of turning the tables on Puccini in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 and because of this believes heading to Sydney for the autumn would be a waste of time.
“Everyone played their part and the horse put in the best possible performance, Mark (Du Plessis) gave him a superb ride and the other two were far superior,” Ritchie said of Glorious Lad’s performance in the New Zealand Derby.
“To go to Sydney and take on Puccini again and possibly Rising Romance in the Derby there would be somewhat foolish.”
Puccuni ($5.50) and Rising Romance ($9) are currently on top of the 2014 New Zealand Derby betting market at Ladbrokes Australia, while Glorious Lad is available at a quote of $31.