Group Three winner Burn To Shine made a pleasing return to the trials at Tauranga on Tuesday when taking out his 950m heat under a hold, beating Group Two performer Wessex by a nose.
Racing in the familiar silks of The Oaks Stud principal Dick Karreman, Burn To Shine impressed in the spring when placing in the Listed El Roca – Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) and Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m), before winning the Gr.3 War Decree Stakes (1600m), with his only disappointing performance coming in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) when ninth.
“He had a great spring and the only race he didn’t run well in was the Guineas, but he did jar up a bit after the War Decree,” The Oaks Stud General Manager Rick Williams said.
“He wasn’t quite himself that day, not coming out of the gates and over racing, it was possibly one step too far, but I have always believed what he did in the spring was a bonus because he is a slow-maturing So You Think and I think his best races are ahead of him.”
Williams was pleased with the trial performance of the Stephen Marsh-trained three-year-old, and he said he could be in for a lucrative autumn campaign.
“He is pretty big in condition, but we are thrilled with him and Nabba’s (Michael McNab, jockey) report was fantastic. You couldn’t have wished for a better trial,” he said.
“We had a chat about possibilities with Stephen at Trentham last Saturday. We will probably look at a 1400m race to kick him off in and that could be at Taranaki or Te Rapa. If he races like he trialled, we might have some big targets for him, but nothing in concrete yet.”
Williams is currently busy with yearling parades ahead of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale at Karaka later this month, where The Oaks Stud will offer lot 415, a Hello Youmazin half-brother to Burn To Shine.
“He is not a dissimilar horse (to Burn To Shine), he is a pretty big horse,” Williams said. “He has a great attitude, is laidback and is much calmer than Burn To Shine, who was always a bit electric and is still growing up. This horse is a gentle giant and it will be interesting to see how he sells.”
Williams is a big fan of his sire Hello Youmzain and has been impressed by the quality of his early stock.
“When Cambridge Stud imported him (Hello Youmzain) we bought two shares in him because we were a huge fan of the horse,” he said.
“I thought we would have three colts there (NZB sale), but little things went wrong with two of them late in the prep, so I pulled them out and we are left with one.
“I love them to bits, they have a great attitude, they are good movers, good bone, and are sound looking horses. Hopefully that transmits to a successful stallion career for Cambridge Stud.”
The colt will be part of a seven-strong offering by The Oaks Stud in the Book 1 session at Karaka, and Williams is also excited to offer four colts (lots 19, 57, 186, 618) by resident stallion U S Navy Flag.
“U S Navy Flag is a stallion we bought outright so we are obviously keen to put a couple of those in front of the buyers,” he said.
“The timing is right with the results he has had lately and he has got a couple of live chances in the Karaka Millions in Pendragon and So Naive.
“We are very happy with the way he is profiling over the last couple of months, and if he has a good autumn it will set him up nicely for a great breeding season next September.”
Williams has been buoyed by the optimism amongst potential buyers at the yearling parades and is hopeful of a strong sale.
“There is certainly a lot more enthusiasm in New Zealand with the Entain Group prizemoney. You can feel it, you can see it, it’s real,” he said.
“I have been told by the New Zealand Bloodstock representatives that every hotel they had booked is taken up, and they have no more space. Bums on seats make sales, and we saw that in the ready to run sale, so let’s hope despite the economies in Australia and New Zealand that we will have a good sale.”
Meanwhile, Williams was also pleased with the trial performance of The Oaks Stud-raced Cheval D’Or on Tuesday.
The Almanzor four-year-old was having her first public hit-out since her three-year-old term, where she won the Gr.3 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (2100m) and placed in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) before crossing the Tasman where she finished seventh in the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2200m).
“She has had a long break and is big in condition. I was thrilled with her, she just cruised up and did as much as they wanted out wide. She had a big blow, she is not as forward as Burn To Shine,” Williams said.
“We are just looking to give her a three or four race programme in the autumn and then we will get serious in the spring. If all goes well, we would love to go to Melbourne in the spring and aim at some of those provincial Cups and see where she ends up. I am convinced she is an out-and-out stayer so we will see what happens.”
-Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk