Former New Zealand galloper Chuck A Luck (NZ) (Niagara) (centre above) has hardly put a foot wrong since joining Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young’s Cranbourne stable and they are hoping he can continue his good run of form in the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The three-year-old son of Niagara has had three starts in Australia for a win and two placings and Busuttin said he was unlucky when finishing runner-up over 1600m at Caulfield earlier this month.
“He is going along well,” Busuttin said. “He was probably a bit stiff not to have won his last start. It was a real leaders track bias and he got out of his ground and was the only horse to make ground all day at Caulfield.”
Saturday’s assignment will be Chuck A Luck’s first at stakes level in Australia and Busttin has plenty of respect for his rivals, which include the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) winner Quick Thinker (So You Think).
“It’s a step up,” Busuttin said. “Not many of the Frank Packer Plates have had Derby winners in them, but Murray Baker is pretty hungry, he tries to get everything he can so we will try and take some of it off him.”
Chuck A Luck will jump from barrier five with jockey Adam Hyeronimus aboard and Busuttin is interested to see how his charge will handle the right-handed way of going for the first time.
“2000m will be a plus for him, but right-handed for the first time is always a query,” he said. “Coming from the South Island he hasn’t raced right-handed but he is a pretty adaptable horse, so it shouldn’t worry him.”
With border restrictions in place between Victoria and New South Wales, Busuttin has sent Chuck A Luck to good friend Bjorn Baker, who is also looking after Quick Thinker for his father Murray.
“We have just sent the horse up and Bjorn Baker is looking after him for us,” Busuttin said. “He is sending one (Hybrid Theory) down here for The Showdown (1200m).
“Bjorn talks it up that he has improved Murray’s horse over there, so hopefully he can improve ours.”
A trip to Adelaide could be on the cards for the Gr.1 South Australian Derby (2500m) if Chuck A Luck performs well on Saturday.
“The South Australian Derby is on the agenda, but we will just see how he comes through it,” Busuttin said. “He has had the trip up to Sydney now, but this will tell the story of his path going forward.”
A stablemate that will likely join Chuck A Luck on his trip to Adelaide is promising three-year-old filly Sierra Sue (NZ) (Darci Brahma).
The daughter of Darci Brahma recorded her third win for the Busuttin-Young barn at Sale on Tuesday and is now being set to contest the Gr.1 Australasian Oaks (2000m).
“She is three from four,” Busuttin said. “The horse beat her fair and square when she came second, but she is not a bad filly and she probably just got there too soon and was left out on her own.
“She is a nice New Zealand-bred filly who is on her way to the South Australian Oaks now. She will run there on May 2 and she is going to be very hard to beat.”
Sierra Sue proved to be a bargain buy as a two-year-old, with former trainer Peter Lock securing her for just $2,000 out of Ardsley Stud’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock May Sale draft.
She had two trials for Lock, doing enough when winning her 1000m trial at Te Aroha in December to attract the eye of bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo.
“Phill Cataldo sourced her for us,” Busuttin said. “He regularly sends us nice trial horses and she was one he identified off Peter and Jamie Lock.
“I am looking forward to the Oaks with her.”
-NZ Racing Desk