Ellerslie feature aims for O’Sullivan-Scott trio
20 April 2017, 2:02 p.m.Wexford Stables trainers Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott have the feature bases covered for Ellerslie on Saturday.
The Matamata training partnership will seek to defend their Manco Easter Stakes title with Sound Proposition and will tackle the Gr.2 Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m) with Charles Road and the Listed Diamond Lodge Championship Stakes (1600m) with Miss Foxy Gal.
|Sound Proposition Photo: Trish Dunell|
"It's an exciting day for the stable," Scott said.
It was certainly an exciting day for the stable at the same meeting last year when Savabeel gelding Sound Proposition claimed his first Group One win in the Easter Stakes (1600m), though he won't add to his Group One tally this weekend with the race since downgraded to Group Two status.
"He's going in to the race in similar form to last year. He worked his way through the ranks and his form coming through the grades looked good on paper," Scott said.
"This year, he's had a more interrupted preparation and he went first-up over 2000m [in the Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes] but he put the writing on the wall that day with a terrific run for third.
"He was a bit unlucky. He got stuck in behind a wall of horses but he hit the line strongly once he got clear. He's trained on well since and Mickey Coleman is happy with him.
"We're pleased with where he's at with his body weight and condition and we expect him to go well."
Sound Proposition has won four of his 15 starts, three of those wins from 11 starts at Ellerslie.
"He's got a great course record and we think he'll run really well again," Scott said.
Charles Road got a deserved last-start win in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) at Awapuni after chasing Gingernuts home at his previous two - for second in the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) and sixth in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), both at Ellerslie.
"Sam Weatherley rides him in all his work and he tells us he's not going backwards at all," Scott said.
"We were waiting for him to tell us he'd had enough but he's holding up well in both form and condition. He knows his way around Ellerslie and we think he's at least a top-three chance again."
Scott said no discussion had taken place about plans past Saturday should Charles Road win again but conceded thoughts would be given to joining Sound Proposition en route to Brisbane for a tilt at the Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 10.
Sound Proposition's Brisbane goal could be the Gr.1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 20 should he win on Saturday, with the Gr.3 Chairman's Handicap (2000m) seven days earlier an alternative kick-off point.
O'Sullivan and Scott's representative in the Listed Champagne Stakes is promising Foxwedge filly Miss Foxy Gal, who chased race rivals Qiji Phoenix, Weather With You and Aquamosa at Ellerslie last start.
"Her fitness levels are high. She's got a fair bit of racing under her belt and we're expecting her to run well," Scott said. - NZ Racing Desk