New Zealand trainer John Bary is no stranger to big stakes racing in Australia and during the upcoming spring he has one of our biggest events on his radar.
Jimmy Choux is on target for the 2011 Cox Plate after he enjoyed considerable success during the autumn season.
At home he was virtually unbeatable, a fact proven by his title of New Zealand horse of the year.
The question was could he transfer that form across the Tasman, something he answered immediately with a commanding victory in the Rosehill Guineas in his first up run.
He went on to the Australian Derby as favourite but an uncharacteristic poor performance saw him languish back in mid field.
Bary claims the horse didn’t handle the two week back up and he’ll be using this information to plan his spring assault.
Jimmy Choux will run in the Cox Plate with his first Australian run and his home preparation will be short and sweet.
He was due to kick off proceedings this morning with a trial at Otaki Racecourse but the atrocious weather conditions being experienced by New Zealand at the moment forced the cancellation of the trials.
The current weather pattern has seen Antarctic conditions blow up from the south and all but cover areas surrounding Christchurch.
Bary says the missed trial will no doubt leave him slightly underdone going into his first up race but he won’t be tinkering with the schedule.
“He’s racing at Hastings on Saturday week over 1400m,” Bary said.
“We just have to hope that class will get us through.”
He says the horse has come back in tremendous shape and will be stronger horse than what we saw in Sydney over the autumn.
“He’s done super well, spelled fantastic he’s come up good, he’s grown,” he said.
“The power is what impresses me, Jonathon Riddell has ridden him a couple of times and says he’s just a different horse.”
While the Cox Plate is the ultimate goal for this preparation Bary won’t rule out sticking around in Australia after that run and potentially targeting something else.
“He’ll tell us after the first one and if we need to back him up we’ll do it,” he said.
“Most kiwis will tell you your first run is your best run in Aussie.”
Jonathon Riddell will continue his association with the horse throughout his new campaign with connections more than content with his autumn efforts.
“He’s ridden him all last season absolutely perfect so there’s no need to change him,” he said.
Riddell also rides the horse in track work with Bary liking to keep the routine as identical as possible and have the horse working under the same conditions.
Jimmy Choux is only expected to have the two runs in New Zealand before the Cox Plate but may return to try and pick up a kiwi Group 1 later in the year.