New Zealand-bred galloper Jaguary continued a purple patch of winning form when he dealt to his rivals over 1950m at Morphetville on Saturday.
The Niagara four-year-old has proved a revelation for local trainer Travis Doudle, having won four of his five starts for the Morphetville mentor after crossing the Tasman still a maiden after five runs in New Zealand.
Doudle, who purchased the gelding from his owner and breeder Trish Dunell, who is also a leading thoroughbred photographer in New Zealand, believes the horse has the ability to go right to the top.
“He’s a very talented horse who we liked from the minute he first arrived,” Doudle said.
“We were so excited to get him and he is just proving what he can do.
“I was concerned on Saturday as I had backed off him and he was six weeks between runs.
“He was also super-hot in the mounting yard so I was very nervous about it. I think this was the first time he has had such a humid day but he handled it very well in the end.
“The plan has been to get him to the spring stayers’ series so he will qualify for that in a fortnight and then go to the final here on Melbourne Cup Day.
“After that there could be a cheeky race for him in Melbourne.”
Doudle was quick to espouse the value to be had from purchasing tried horses from the New Zealand racing market after paying less than $40,000 to secure him and bring him across to Australia
“He was $37,000 landed in the country and to be honest, to get a horse like him here for that sort of money, you can’t buy a yearling for that and wait two or three years to see if they are any good,” he said.
“We knew this horse had ability and he has just thrived.
“I’ve found a good deal of success out of these tried horses
“I’m finding that they are easier to syndicate as a lot of owners want to go to the races straight away and not wait around for a few years.
“I can understand that and people are really keen to jump on board now.”
Doudle also detailed the background on how he had come about buying Jaguary.
“He was advertised on a website here in Australia and I had watched a couple of his runs,” he said.
“He trialled nicely but was doing a lot wrong in his races. He over-raced but was still finding the line well.
“I thought with a little bit of time, be able to settle and get a little stronger, that he was going to be a pretty serious horse.
“At the moment we are just racing him through his grades and making the money along the way.
“I told the owners that is what we would do and then have a crack at something nicer later on. There is the A$100,000 Stayers final on Melbourne Cup Day at Morphetville and then we can take him over the border to Melbourne after that.”
Doudle is enthusiastic about the New Zealand thoroughbred environment after visiting the country recently.
“I came over to New Zealand two weeks ago to assess whether I should leave the horses I have bought recently there or bring them back to Australia,” said.
“It’s just beautiful and I can’t replicate what you guys have got there. It is just perfect.
“One of the younger ones I had at the Oaks Stud was knee deep in grass and had a big fat belly on him and looked super.”
Doudle, who has been training for around six years, currently works a team of around twelve at his Morphetville stable but also utilises a nearby forest area for hill gallops while he also has access to a beach location to maintain a varied routine for his horses.
“I do train out of the city but I actually spend more time training off the farm than I do out of the city. They still get to see the track and have good hitouts at the track,” he said.
“I think the different options has been the key to getting Jaguary to settle like he is now.
“Putting him on the float and taking him to the beach and forest means they have no choice but to switch off and settle and it has worked with him.”
Following the initial link with Jaguary, Doudle is training the Trish Dunell-owned Elevenbee, another son of Niagara, who will contest a 2100m maiden at Gawler on Monday.
“He looks like he is going to make a really nice stayer as well,” Doudle said.
“He hasn’t got the strength of Jaguary and is a little bit finer-boned, so he might take a little bit more time to see the best of him, but I think he will run a really bold race tomorrow.” – NZ Racing Desk