After a season where they were towelled up by their number one combatants in Darley, Patinack Farm needed an injection of life into the build up to the spring carnivals.
While they are certainly working tirelessly to lift the performances of their stocks here at home, they also looked further abroad to see if there were any opportunities to give a direct boost to their immediate hopes.
If you believe the hype they may have just found it in the form of their third up Japanese import Akinoshirabe.
To be fair there’s plenty of questions unanswered about the horse, what is known is that it’s quite well travelled and she has enjoyed some good results so far in her career.
She was set to run in the Listed Premier’s Cup at Rosehill this weekend but after failing to make the cut she’s been forced into the Benchmark 79 Campbelltown Handicap over 2000m.
Akinoshirabe is a five year old mare and was first purchased in Japan as a yearling for $190,000 by Nathan Tinkler.
After that she was sent to Europe where she was trained by Luca Cumani in England.
Whilst there she had four race starts and managed to pick up two victories, the first over 2042 at Newcastle and the second across 2012m at Kempton Park.
This isn’t a case of bringing over a banged up old European stayer and seeing if they can improve in Australia, this horse is already winning and had to be pried away far more than given away.
“Luca was not too happy to lose this mare. He even was giving some thought to a possible Caulfield Cup (run),” Patinack stud manager Ben Lawrence said.
“We were always keen to give her a try on the racetrack but if she didn’t come to hand quickly there was the fall-back position to send her to stud this spring.
“However, John is so excited about the way she is shaping, it is now the plan to race her for another season.”
John Thompson is the man responsible for getting her fit for the track and he says he’s had a good opinion of her ever since she arrived at his stable.
She had two barrier trials in preparation for her first run, one at Warwick Farm and the other at Randwick before debuting at Rosehill on the 30th of July.
It was a modest first up performance finishing mid field in restricted grade however it was only a 1400m race, well short of her ideal distance.
Her next start was a week and a half ago in the Permier’s Cup Prelude, she once again finished midfield but she was only half a length away over the increased 1800m trip.
That leaves her in an excellent position for the 2000m at Rosehill this weekend and Thompson can’t help but be excited about her chances.
“She is certain to be better suited as her races get longer,” Thompson said.
“At this stage she runs on Saturday and then we’ll take her to the Newcastle Cup over 2300m on September 15.”
If she performs well in the Newcastle Cup there’s every chance she’ll then come back to Randwick and try her luck at Group 1 level in The Metropolitan.
From there she’d continue to Melbourne with the Caulfield Cup still seen as a realistic race towards the end of her campaign.