Cambridge-based Kiwi trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young will use this Saturday’s 2013 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes as the starting point for their triple Group 1 winning New Zealand raider Sangster’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
The smart son of Savabeel has enjoyed a trio of elite level wins over their 23 start career to date, their first of which was during the Melbourne Cup Carnival of 2011.
After a great first Australian campaign, the then three-year-old rose through the ranks in Sydney and Melbourne eventually taking out the Victoria Derby at Flemington.
They returned to Victoria in the autumn last year but failed to produce much of note.
After snaring two Group 1 victories back home by big margins in the International Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa in February and the Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie in March, Sangster was bought back to Oz.
They had two runs during the Sydney carnival, the second of which was an impressive third behind Fiveandahalfstar in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill.
Their two runs this time in back in NZ however have been disappointing.
Last seen finishing a distant 13th when beating just one other runner home in the Group 1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) in the mud at Hastings on August 31, Sangster is ready to get back to form down under.
“That was an average run, but it was second-up after a pretty good first-up run and stayers can put in a bit of a slow one second-up,” Busuttin said on RSN’s Racing Ahead speaking of the Makfi.
“The track was dead-set bottomless. He enjoys the cut out of the track, but the jockey come in and said he couldn’t pick his feet up.”
They take on a crack field in their first Melbourne run of the new season with plenty of talent among the 17 nominees for the $300,000 Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Among their most notable possible rivals are the undefeated Atlantic Jewel who returned from a lengthy spell to win the Memsie last start, the fellow Mark Kavanagh-trained Group 1 champ Super Cool who is spring cups bound, Gai Waterhouse’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Fiorente and the reigning Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner Happy Trails.
Originally their trainers were hoping to give Sangster his first Melbourne run since their third in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at the Valley in March last year in Saturday week’s $400,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
However their second last run last start saw a change of plans.
“Originally we were looking at the Underwood, three weeks after that 1400-metre race but he wasn’t as fit as I initially thought the way he pulled up after the run,” Busuttin said.
“I just thought a mile at this stage would suit him well.
“While I wouldn’t go in there expecting a winning run, he’s got to put his hand up if he’s any sort of chance in those races later on.
“He’s still got a heap of improvement and a long way to go in the coat, but I’d expect him to be weighing in (on Saturday) going forward to those big races.”
Following the Dato, Sangster will head towards the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19 for which they are rated a $51 chance to win.
They are then likely to continue on a path ending with the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
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