Trainer Shaun Mathrick elected to have Ayers Rock gelded after failing to fire in the Victoria Derby on October 31st, and is hopeful the decision will pay dividends when the talented three-year-old returns in autumn.
Ayers Rock has posted two wins and a minor through his eleven start career so far and undoubtedly stamped himself as a player amongst his own age group when beating a talented field to the line in the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) at Flemington most notably on October 4th.
Yet to settle on a specific target for the son of Nicconi through the 2016 Autumn Carnival, Mathrick told Racing.com he believes the horse will figure as a serious player over a mile and is considering a race like the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington in February as his first point of call.
“He had four and a half weeks off, went to the paddock and got castrated and he’s come back super,” Mathrick said.
“He spelled well and has been in work for about three weeks and is pretty bouncy.
“I don’t know whether he stays the trip or not – I think he’ll be a good front running miler of 1800m and might sneak out to 2000m.
“We’ll see what difference the castration has made. My father told me to get a great gelding you have to cut a good colt so let’s hope he ends up a great gelding.
“It will be something in the autumn – I think the CS Hayes Stakes is a first-up 1400m and I haven’t planned anything out, we’ll just see where he’s at how strong he is and he’ll go on.”
Ayers Rock debuted to racing for fifth place finishes in a pair of Flemington minors last summer before being returned to the paddock with a view towards the recent Spring Carnival.
Clearly requiring the runs when failing to figure in each of his first two starts in July, the gelding out of Vintage Rock progressed to a credible eighth amongst classy company in the TAB Place Multi Handicap (1550m) on July 25th before breaking through for a maiden race win in the Mildura Melbourne Cup Day Maiden (2000m) on August 3rd.
Failing to fire when eighth in a Sandown minor over 1400m on September 2nd, Mathrick’s decision to head south almost paid complete dividends when Ayers Rock ran a close second to Celtic Tiger in the Listed Morphettville Guineas (1600m) a fortnight prior to his UCI Stakes triumph.