New Zealand owner Colin Keane has rejected huge offers for his unbeaten two year old Vinnie Eagle on the eve of the running of the $250,000 Inglis Classic (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Keane admits to many sleepless nights after knocking back offers of over $500,000 for Vinnie Eagle who will be matched up against boom Melbourne two year old Boomwaa at Randwick.
“I said no to the first offer but they kept coming back. Every time I said he wasn’t for sale they increased the offer,” Keane said.
“In the end they were up to over $500,000 and I can tell you I have had plenty of sleepless nights thinking what I have done!
“In the end I want to keep him because I have never had such an exciting horse and who knows where he could take us.”
Under the care the Cambridge training partnership of Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue, Vinnie Eagle was able to win on debut over 880m at Ruakaka in September.
The I Am Invincible youngster then resumed for a win in the Group 3 NZ$70,000 Barneswood Farm Eclipse Stakes (1200m) at Ellersille in New Zealand on January 1.
Vinnie Eagle ($4) and the Robbie Laing trained Boomwaa ($2.30) are the top two in the betting for the Inglis Classic and even though the Kiwi two year old has drifted slightly overnight, Pike is still keen on his chances.
“New Zealand two-year-olds versus the Australian two-year-olds are never easy to match up, but he’s definitely going the right way,” Pike said.
Boomwaa created a huge impression in winning by three lengths in the Group 3 $150,000 The Hong Kong Jockey Club Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on November 9 before resuming for a second to the Gai Waterhouse trained Fighting Sun over 1110m at Rosehill on January 4.
Sydney based Kiwi jockey James McDonald will take over from Letih Innes on Vinnie Eagle while Hugh Bowman will be having his first race ride on Boomwaa.
If Vinnie Eagle runs up to Pike’s expectations he will take him back to New Zealand before preparing him for another trip to Australia to contest the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 12.
“We’ll get through Sydney and then he’ll come back and we might look at the Sires’ Produce races,” Pike said.
The only other two runners under double figures in the thirteen horse Inglis Classic field are the Gerald Ryan trained Peggy Jean ($7.50) and the first starter from the Tony McEvoy stable Affirmation ($8).
Peggy Jean has had one race start for a second over 1000m on the Kensington track on January 8 while Affirmation arrived in Sydney after winning a 850m Morphettville barrier trial on January 6.
Sydney jockey Kathy O’Hara is the new rider for one of the outsiders of the field Armageddon On It ($101) after the colt’s original rider Peter Robl had to relinquish all his Randwick mounts after suffering a nasty fall at Scone yesterday.