A civil war is looming in New Zealand and it will all come to a head over 1400m at Hastings this Saturday.
While there’s a contingent full of Group 1 winners in the field as far as the kiwi’s are concerned it’s already come down to a one on one showdown.
With the success surrounding Scarlett Lady during the Brisbane winter carnival it would be easy to proclaim her the best New Zealand import.
That’s exactly what her trainer Graeme Rogerson did after she won the Doomben Roses first up and then went on for an easy victory in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks.
Before her though there was another classy kiwi in the form of Jimmy Choux.
He also won in impressive style first up and had excuses at his next start.
His trainer John Bary is frothing at the mouth to get a shot at Scarlett Lady this weekend so he can stamp his authority with Jimmy Choux, last season’s New Zealand horse of the year.
“By all accounts, Graeme Rogerson has claimed Scarlett Lady is the best horse in New Zealand. We will see how good Rogie’s judgment is,” Bary said.
“Jimmy Choux is right where I want him. He’s grown, he’s about 16.2 (hands high) now and he’s put on a few more kilos. He’s had a nice long three months of good slow work getting him to where I want him to be.
“He missed a trial because they cancelled them, which is the only worry, but we’ve got enough gallops into him and I think he has the class factor. He might only have to be 90 to 95 per cent to beat that field. Class takes you a long way.”
To be fair on Scarlett Lady the 1400m is on the lower end of her desired distance but Rogerson is hopeful she might be far enough along to be sighted at the death.
Of course there are other horses in the race and some nice types at that, both Wall Street and Lion Tamer will run after claiming Group 1’s in Australia last spring.
They are well and truly unsuited by the trip though so naturally it’s fallen down to the Lady and the Choux.
This is likely to be the only time they meet as well with very different campaigns set out for them in Australia.
Scarlett Lady will run in the Underwood Stakes and is also a hot tip for the Caulfield Cup and even the Melbourne Cup.
Jimmy Choux meanwhile is focussed squarely on the Cox Plate and may only have one other run after that.
Bary is mindful of keeping his workload down so he can run as fresh as possible in Australia and as such he may only have one more start in New Zealand before leaving as well.
“If he blows like hell and I think he needs another run we can always run in the Windsor Park Plate (on September 17), but if I’m happy he might just have an exhibition gallop that day and then go straight into the Group 1 Spring Classic (formerly Kelt Capital Stakes) on October 1 before we go to Australia,” he said.