Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick has a fair bit to contemplate as spring racing heats up across the Tasman.
His exciting four-year-old I Wish I Win has made waves in Victoria since joining trainer Peter Moody’s Pakenham barn.
The son of Savabeel showed promise in New Zealand for his previous trainer Jamie Richards, for whom he won two and placed in six of his nine starts, including runner-up results in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m), Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), Gr.3 Northland Breeders’ Stakes (1200m), Listed Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m), and Listed Mufhasa Stakes (1400m).
I Wish I Win has been an impressive winner of his two Australian outings under Moody’s care, including a one length victory over fellow Kiwi-bred Ayrton in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on Sunday.
Breeder-owner Chittick has been taken back by his reception from Australian punters, with bookmakers installing the rising star as a clear $2.40 favourite for the Gr.1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday-week.
“We knew he had ability,” Chittick told SEN.
“Going into his four-year-old year, Moods and I had a bit of a yarn and made an agreement that we would give it (racing in Australia) a go.
“We regard racing in Australia as the best in the world and you have got so many opportunities over there. We thought we would take him over there and roll the dice.
“I didn’t think that his third run in Australia he would be going into a time-honoured race like the Toorak.”
While he is excited about the gelding’s immediate assignment, it is his next target that is giving the Waikato horseman a welcome headache.
The A$10 million prizemoney of the Golden Eagle (1500m) is acting as a big lure to head to Sydney, however, Chittick’s heart is telling him to remain in Melbourne to tackle the A$5 million Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Chittick stands former Cox Plate winners Ocean Park and I Wish I Win’s sire Savabeel, and he would love to get his hands on the silverware in his own right.
“It is a hard one and a good problem to have. We stand two Cox Plate winners at Waikato Stud, and one of those being his father,” Chittick said.
“It has always been a dream for me to breed a Cox Plate winner let alone win it ourselves.
“When betting shops start talking about Cox Plates, it starts to get pretty exciting.
“There is something about that race. It is legendary. We are in it for the long game.
“It has all got to pay its way and if you had a chance in a race like the Golden Eagle it would certainly help to pay a few bills.
“But if I had to toss up either way I would probably lean towards the Cox Plate.”