A Coolmore Stud Stakes berth is on the line when Queensland speedster Wicked Intent kicks off his southern campaign in the Group 2 $300,000 Canterbury BMW Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Trainer Chris Munce is venturing back to Sydney for the first since swapping riding with training but the former champion jockey is no stranger to the surroundings where he and Gai Waterhouse ruled the racetracks with numerous Group 1 winners together, including a win in the 2002 Roman Consul Stakes with Snowland.
Wicked Intent was among the top ranked two year olds during his juvenile season and resumed from a spell with a gutsy third under 60kg to the speedy Blue Desert Moon in a 1050m three year old Handicap at Doomben on September 12.
Munce knows that he is taking on the cream of the three year olds on Saturday, coming up against Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes winner Exosphere, 2015 two year old Magic Millions winner Le Chef and the Chris Waller trained Japonisme.
But he is willing to test Wicked Intent at the higher level and give his band of rookie owners the chance of progressing to the Group 1 $500,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 31.
“It’s a dream to take him away and it would be great for the owners, who have never raced a horse at all, let alone getting one like this guy,” Munce said.
“I think he’s worthy of the trip.”
Munce has secured the services of former top Queensland and Australian jockey Zac Purton who is now based in Hong Kong and is rated among the leading jockeys of the world.
“It’s great that Zac is going to ride the colt, he’s one of the best jockeys in the world,’’ Munce said.
Munce has reported that Wicked Intent has settled into his new surroundings at Randwick and is looking forward to a competitive showing from barrier five on Saturday.
“The horse travelled down well and has licked his feed bin clean every night,” Munce said.
“He worked strongly on the Kensington track and I couldn’t be happier with him.’’
The John O’Shea trained Exosphere has set the benchmark for the new season Sydney three year olds with wins in the Group 2 $175,000 MTA NSW The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on August 29 and in the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on September 12.