Trainer John Sargent will have representatives in three states this weekend, headed by New Zealand import House Of Cartier, a recent addition to the stable that will contest the Gr.1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on Saturday.
House Of Cartier has been good in three starts for Sargent since transferring across the Tasman from Nigel Tiley’s barn, finishing sixth in the Gr.3 Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) before winning over 2000m at Hawkesbury and finishing a luckless fifth behind The Chosen One in the Gr.3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m).
“She got galloped on in her first start for me, so I had to back off her,” Sargent said. “Then when I gave her a final gallop before the Australian Oaks (Gr.1, 2400m) her blood wasn’t right so I decided not to go there and head for the easier option in the Frank Packer (Gr.3, 2000m). She was unlucky and didn’t get out until late.
“She has arrived down in Melbourne today (Tuesday) and Michael Walker will ride her in Adelaide on Saturday in the Oaks.
“I think she will get further than 2000m, probably up to 2400m. But we are doing the 2000m now and that should suit her. It is a nice big track at Morphettville.”
Sargent is no stranger to Oaks success, having won the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) with Miss Mossman, the Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) with Quintessential, the Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) with Kirramosa and the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) with Gust Of Wind.
“She has got a bit of quality, she is definitely up there with my other Oaks winners,” Sargent said.
“I would be very surprised if she wasn’t very hard to beat when you look at the quality of the field on Saturday. She might back-up in the Derby (Gr.1, 2500m) the following week.”
Sargent would dearly love to win another Group One for long-time supporters Bill Gleeson and Peter Gillespie who race the daughter of Alamosa.
“They have supported me ever since I started training,” he said. “They gave me horses like Kirramosa who was a flag bearer in the stables when I came over here (to Australia) to start training. Pete Gillespie had horses with me like the Big Bopper when I trained in Malaysia and Singapore as well.”
Despite having a strong chance of landing another Oaks, Sargent will be in Queensland on Saturday with Group Two winner Luvaluva contesting the Gr.2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast.
The four-year-old mare returns from a one-race campaign in New Zealand where she finished third in the Gr.1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha in early April.
The daughter of Mastercraftsman won a 1200m trial at Randwick last week as she prepares for Queensland assignments.
“She trialled very well,” Sargent said. “I gave her a week out at Roger James’ farm after her race in New Zealand and she did extremely well and Blake Shinn will ride her on Saturday. She is on target for the Doomben Cup (Gr.1, 2000m).
“I think the trip to New Zealand was always a gamble, taking on the mile when probably her best distance is 2000m or further. She is still Group One placed and it was worth the trip.
“It will be interesting to see how she goes around the tight Queensland tracks. She is a long striding horse, but hopefully because she works on smaller tracks here she is used to it.
“She is after a Group One win really and then she will carry on next season as well.”
While Sargent is pleased with the form of Luvaluva, he is also bullish about the future prospects of the mare’s two-year-old half-brother Brandenburg, a son of Burgundy.
“Brandenburg is a very good horse,” Sargent said. “He was third on Saturday at the stand alone meeting at Hawkesbury. He is entered for the J J Atkins (Gr.1, 1600m) so we will take him up there to Queensland. He will probably winter up there and I expect him to make a very good three-year-old. He’s a Derby-type of horse.”
Meanwhile, Sargent believes there are more wins in store for another New Zealand arrival, High Shine, after an impressive winner at Warwick Farm a fortnight ago. Known as Shine in New Zealand, the Gerry Harvey-owned daughter of Redwood won one of her three starts for Cody Cole before crossing the Tasman.
“She will go to Scone for the stand alone meeting next Friday,” Sargent said. “James McDonald wants to ride her.
“She has done very well. I think she will go through the grades looking at her first up win and what she did in New Zealand.
“Gerry wanted to get some black-type with her in Australia and on her first up win and form she should get that.”
Sargent is enjoying life in Sydney running a boutique operation from his Randwick base.
“I’ve got 40 horses, that’s all I’ve got. I sell quite a few to Hong Kong and am building up clients and have quite a good bunch of younger horses now too.
“I’ve got a nice two-year-old called Foxborough by Dissident, he will run in the J J Atkins as well.
“It is quite good not to have the big numbers and to be able to concentrate on them.” – NZ Racing Desk