Promising four-year-old English Gambler has pleased trainer Lauren Brennan in his four career starts to date and she believes he has the potential to reach cups class in New Zealand.
The gelding has yet to finish outside the top two and broke through for his maiden victory over a mile at Tauranga last month. He is unbeaten at the distance and will attempt to keep that record intact when he lines-up in the Auckland Co-op Taxis 1600 at Te Aroha on Sunday.
English Gambler dropped back in distance for his last-start runner-up performance in the $101,000 Platinum Homes Taranaki Challenge (1400m) at New Plymouth and Brennan thinks he will appreciate the step back up to a mile.
“He’s really kicked-off well,” Brennan said. “He’s drawn nicely (barrier 4) and once he matures he might be a nice cups horse.
“We had to have a crack at the Taranaki Challenge with the money that was up, but I thought 1400m was going to be a bit too quick for him. But he dug deep in that, so he’s back up to a mile and hopefully he can repeat his mile form.”
English Gambler is owned in Singapore but the gelding is set to continue his racing career in New Zealand, with Brennan believing he will develop into a quality stayer in time.
“He’s owned by Paul Hickman in Singapore,” Brennan said. “At this point he’s staying here because of his staying prospects. There are more opportunities down here if he is up to the mark, which it looks like he will be.
“It will possibly be his last race (this campaign) with the heavy track. So we’ll see how the weather plays out, hopefully the track will come back a little bit.
“We might try him over 2000m, we are not sure yet, we’ll see how he comes through (Sunday). It will be his fifth start this preparation so there is the possibility he will go out for a break.” – NZ Racing Desk