Wilderness will make his racing debut in the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo on Saturday and trainer David Hayes will be using the performance to access which races he will be set the valuable colt for during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Wilderness was purchased for $2.4 million at the 2013 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale by Coolmore Stud and his racing debut has been highly anticipated since he made his first public appearance with a comfortable win in a barrier trial at Canterbury on March 5.
Hayes is expecting big things from Wilderness this preparation and has included the son of Fastnet Rock in the nominations for the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) that will be run at Royal Randwick on April 12; with the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5 also an option if the colt performs strongly in the Gold Rush this weekend.
:He’s a horse that we’re setting for the Sydney Autumn Carnival and it really depends on his performance on Saturday which race I go for in Sydney,” Hayes told Racing Victoria.
“If he won and won easily I wouldn’t rule out a Golden Slipper but I’ll just let the horse do the talking.
“I think he’ll be fast enough to very competitive over 1000m going off his trials.
“He won his three trials sitting on the pace and giving a nice kick so he looks an ideal sprinter, but you’ve always got the $1 million Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes in mind if he finds the 1000m a bit sharp.”
With $250,000 on offer in prizemoney, the 2014 VOBIS Gold Rush has drawn a strong field; with proven juveniles performers such as Eloping and Jarklin set to contest the race.
Eloping won the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) at Caulfield on January 25 in impressive fashion and was far from disgraced when second behind Earthquake in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m), while Jarklin scored a maiden win at Cranbourne before finishing second behind the talented Nostradamus in the Nursery Plate (1100m) at Flemington on January 18.
Eloping ($2.30) is currently a narrow favourite in 2014 Gold Rush betting markets at Ladbrokes Australia from Wilderness ($2.70), debutant Cathy’s Mark ($9) and Hayes-trained Cool Rules ($9).
Punters who are lucky enough to back the winner of the Gold Rush can immediately access their winnings thanks to the Ladbrokes Card that can be used on any ATM right around Australia.