2017 Brisbane Cup Mission for Chocante

New Zealand horseman Stephen Marsh has his smart Kiwi raider Chocante in the mix for an Eagle Farm run this weekend on way to the Brisbane Cup 2017 next month over the mile and a half.

Jim Byrne

Jockey Jim Byrne retains the ride on 2017 Brisbane Cup-bound Chocante in Brisbane’s Premier’s Cup this weekend. Photo: Daniel Costello.

Long term plans are to have the son of former Melbourne Cup winner Shocking back down under for a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival targeting the staying majors.

“We would like to be in Melbourne in the spring for some serious races,” the Cambridge-based Marsh told the New Zealand Racing Desk.

“It’s not as if he’s having a lot of racing this autumn and he can be on a direct flight back from Brisbane and he won’t need a long time out in the paddock.”

Four-year-old Chocante will be out to prove he’s worth bringing back later in the year when he continues his Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival raid on Kingsford-Smith Cup Day this Saturday.

First-up in Australia the horse ran a nice third to Stampede in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2000m) at Doomben on May 13, a run that impressed Marsh and connections.

“I was rapt – I thought his run was outstanding,” Marsh said.

“He’d gone from 1400 to 1600 metres and then up to 2000 at Doomben.

“He was still fresh and pulled a bit so it was a great effort and he’s done an absolute treat since.”

A fortnight later he runs at Brisbane’s other major racecourse, Chocante one of 18 nominations for the $125,000 Group 3 Channel Seven Premier’s Cup (2200m) this weekend, and Marsh confirmed Queensland hoop Jim Byrne would retain the ride.

“Jim Byrne will be riding him again and hopefully after this weekend he will be desperate to stick with him,” Marsh said.

All going to plan and the galloper will round-out his winter campaign on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 10, stepping up in distance for the $300,000 Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).

“That will be over 2400m and the timing is ideal for him – he’s a really exciting horse,” Marsh said.

Last year’s Premier’s Cup winner was the mare Real Love who went on to run fourth in the Brisbane Cup, won by Premier’s Cup third placegetter Benzini.

The Adrian & Harry Bull-trained Benzini is among the Premier’s Cup nominations again this season, the veteran Kiwi last seen running third over 2000m back across the Tasman on April 22.

The race has also attracted entries from the likes of the Michael Nolan-trained Jumbo Prince, the Chairman’s Handicap winning stallion Stampede from the Tulloch Lodge stable of Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott and the Mick Price-trained runner-up out of the same lead-up The Chairman.

To get behind Chocante this weekend and in the Brisbane Cup 2017 at the right price make sure you head to Ladbrokes.com.au.

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