Expensive Almanzor Colt Ready for Stakes Debut

Media Release - Thursday December 9

High-priced youngster Andalus hasn’t been troubled by the unexpected rigours of the past week and trainer Stephen Marsh can’t fault the colt ahead of his delayed debut on Saturday.

The son of Almanzor was dispatched to Trentham for the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) last weekend, only to return home unraced after the meeting was abandoned.

Andalus as a yearling.

Andalus will line up for take two of the relocated Hiddenbed-sponsored two-year-old feature at Te Rapa and Marsh said the Lib Petagna-owned juvenile was raring to go.

“He has done really well and the trip away last week didn’t worry him at all. He’s come back nicely and he’s drawn well in barrier two.

“There’s obviously a bit more depth in the field this time, but he is in really good order.”

Andalus was a $420,000 purchase out of Waikato Stud’s draft by Petagna’s bloodstock manager Bruce Perry and won a trial in fine style at Taupo last month in the hands of Michael McNab, who will take the ride again.

“I’ve got a lot of faith in the horse. He’s not a dead-set two-year-old type, but he has got the best temperament you could ever ask for and he’s just done everything so well,” Marsh said.

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The stable will be well-represented in the black-type features at Te Rapa with Tabata to take her place in the Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m), Starrybeel steps out in the Gr.3 Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup (2400m) and Raposa Rapida and Run To Perfection in the Gr.3 J Swap Sprint (1400m).

Savabeel mare Tabata has yet to place this preparation, but Marsh believes five-year-old is capable of a much-improved performance with the addition of headgear.

“The blinkers go on her and her runs have been good without a lot of luck. She can turn her form around,” he said.

Dour stayer Starrybeel was a last-start winner at Te Aroha and the lack of depth in the Waikato Cup line-up has encouraged connections to give the gelding his opportunity.

“He was very good last time out, but we weren’t initially looking at this race for him,” Marsh said.

“I rang up before nominations and it was a small field, he galloped well on Tuesday morning so we thought we’d have a crack. At his best, he is a good stayer and he looks a decent lightweight chance.”

Raposa Rapida and Run To Perfection will both have awkward barriers to contend with in the open sprint on the card and Marsh concedes they will need everything to go their way to be in the finish.

“They have drawn outside gates so it’s going to make it hard for them, but any rain around will really help Run To Perfection,” he said.

“You can forget Raposa Rapida went around last time out and he was a stakes winner the start before, but they will both need some luck from the barriers.”

Meanwhile, Marsh has future Group hopes for his midweek maiden winner Windspeed, who went one better over 1200m at Hastings following a debut second at New Plymouth.

“She’s nominated for the Levin Classic and the Oaks and she’ll step up to 1400m now and then we’ll gradually get her over more ground,” he said.

“She is a very progressive filly and she is improving all the time.”

Marsh outlaid $25,000 to secure the well-related daughter of Tavistock out of Cambridge Stud’s Karaka draft in 2020.

“The Georgetti family wanted a filly and didn’t want to spend too much and I found her for them. She was a little bit backward at the time, but she’s a decent type and the pedigree is very good,” he said.

Windspeed is a daughter of the unraced Zabeel mare Tuesday’s Child, who is out of a three-quarter sister to the champion sire Redoute’s Choice.

Rubick, Manhattan Rain, Al Maher, Umatilla, Echoes Of Heaven and Hurricane Sky are other stallions on the pedigree page as well as the three-time Group One-winning mare Shoals. – NZ Racing Desk

 

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