A fortnight back young New Zealand horseman Trent Busuttin enjoyed an upset win in the ATC Derby with Tavago and is back chasing more success in Sydney this weekend with Sicario in the 2016 Champagne Stakes.
Tavago, prepared by Busuttin and co-trainer Natalie Young at Cambridge in New Zealand, stole the show in the $2 million Australian Derby with his runaway three and a quarter length winner over the filly Jameka as a 41/1 outsider.
This Saturday the team is back with another outside hope in a Royal Randwick autumn feature, Bullbars gelding Sicario looking to defeat odds-on favourite Yankee Rose in the $500,000 Group 1 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m).
David Vandyke’s daughter of All American Yankee Rose is already odds-on at $1.35 in pre-field Champagne Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au after her Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) win by two and a half lengths at the track on Doncaster Mile Day.
That followed her first-up Golden Slipper second and gave her three wins from four starts for $1.5 million in prize money, not bad for a $10,000 buy.
Sicario, who will race under the extended name El Sicario in Australia on Saturday, meanwhile remains a maiden after two career runs.
He debuted in mid-March with a second to Quantum over 1200m before a close last start second on a Heavy (10) track in the Group 1 NZ Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) he’s out to improve on stepping out over the mile in his Australian debut on All Aged Stakes Day.
Sicario is at $15 in the early Champagne Stakes odds, and while weary of the class of his competitors, Busuttin is hoping the horse can overcome the challenge for victory.
“We’re under no illusions of the task in front of him,” Busuttin told NZ Racing.
“The Australian two-year-old form is the best in the world and the filly (Yankee Rose) is right at the top of the class.
“But in saying that we’re not bringing over to make up the numbers.
“He probably lacks a bit of ring craft at the moment and we’ve taken the view that there’s more to gain rather than lose by running on Saturday.”
Win or lose on Saturday, Busuttin plans to return down under with Sicario in the spring and is full of excitement surrounding the up-and-comer’s future.
“[He] will be an Australian Group horse in the spring,” he said.
“On ability he’s as quick as anything we’ve had in the stable.
“He’s a big and raw horse that’s learning all the time and I do know he’ll run the trip on Saturday and if it’s wet, that won’t hinder his chances either.
“His racing manners are improving and outside the filly, without being disrespectful, I don’t think the rest of the entries are the top draw horses around in Australia.
“We’re going into Saturday with an open mind. We’re excited about the horse but we know this is a race of a lot more depth than the two races he’s been in.”
Also booked for the ride on the Darren Weir-trained Black Heart Bart in the $600,000 Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on the card, Sydney Cup winning hoop from last Saturday Kerrin McEvoy will partner Sicario in the Champagne Stakes.
McEvoy chases his third Champagne Stakes win following previous victories aboard the Peter Snowden-trained youngsters Skilled (2010) and Guelph (2013).
Snowden also won in 2011 with Helmet, ridden by Nash Rawiller, but is without an entry in 2016.
Get behind your Champagne Stakes favourites now at Ladbrokes.com.au in futures markets before the odds come in on Wednesday morning with the release of the final field and barriers.