Kiwi import vindicating Costa’s judgement

Supergiant finished runner-up to Vanna Girl in the Listed Doomben Guineas (1615m) on Saturday. Photo: Grant Peters

Gold Coast trainer Michael Costa is delighted with Kiwi import Supergiant (NZ) (Red Giant).

The three-year-old gelding was narrowly beaten when second at his first attempt at stakes company at Doomben on Saturday.

The son of Red Giant was runner-up to Vanna Girl in the Listed Doomben Guineas (1615m) and has shown plenty of ability since crossing the Tasman, recording comfortable victories at the Gold Coast and Ipswich for the emerging horseman.

Supergiant was initially prepared by Matamata trainer Jim Collett, with Costa sourcing him on the back of a second placing in a Cambridge trial in September last year.

“We moved to Queensland in 2016 and settled in quite well and were having good success buying yearlings but wanted to add another element,” Costa said.

“I have been watching Chris Waller’s success and a lot of other stables bringing horses over from New Zealand and I did a little bit of homework and tried to find someone that we could work with.

“I got a pretty good push about bloodstock agent Phill Cataldo and I got in contact.

“Supergiant was actually the first horse that Phill put forth to me. I received an email and you never really want to jump into the first one, but I liked his trial and he was priced affordably at $70,000.

“It was always going to be a little bit of a punt for owners given he is by a sire in Red Giant that is not that well known in Australia, but on the back of his trial and reasonable price, we probably could have sold him five times over.

“We have had a few tried horses and they have been quite successful, but we’re really quite strict on the ones we want.

“We want to see that we can progress with them and make their purchase price back, and then some, quite quickly, so we don’t offer them regularly but it is something we want to do a little more of.”

Costa has been impressed with the three-year-old who was purchased as a Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) prospect, however, that race is no longer on this year’s re-shaped Winter Carnival due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  

“The horse is still quite immature and learning his racing craft,” Costa said.

“He is going to get better with another preparation and he went into this prep a little bit under-done. He missed a trial and so he needed his first-up run.

“His last two runs have been super and I think if he can get over a little bit of ground and still run home in the times he is running home in, we don’t know where he is going to end up, which is good.

“It is probably still a bit premature to say, but everything that we have seen at home gives me no reason to think that he wouldn’t get out to 2400m.

“He can stay all day from what we’ve seen in his work and based on his heart-rate on the heart-rate monitor.

“It is still a little bit of trial and error and we will keep stretching him out in distance until we find the sweet spot.”

Supergiant will now progress to the Gr.3 Gunsynd Classic (1800m) at Eagle Farm on May 23 before a tilt at the Gr.3 Rough Habit Plate (2200m) at the same venue next month.

Supergiant has shown natural gate speed since relocating to the Gold Coast, despite coming from off the pace in his New Zealand trial.

“I am not sure what happened in that trial in New Zealand and he has always showed natural gate speed since I have had him,” Costa said.

“He is a horse that has probably got onto the bridle a little bit too much and we have just been working on him to get him to comeback within himself, which he seems to be doing.”

Costa, who has around 40 horses in work, is pleased with the trajectory of the stable.

“Statistically we are still very strong, but I’d love a few more horses like this coming through the system,” he said.

“But we have been buying some nice yearlings and it is only a matter of time until one puts its head up that is well above average.

“We’re building some momentum off the back of a lot of elbow grease. It hasn’t been easy but it is all heading in the right direction.”

The young trainer, who secured a Tivaci yearling filly out of the Blandford Lodge draft at Karaka earlier this year for $70,000, was also on the look-out for more New Zealand tried horses.  “We’ve been beaten on a few or they have been out of my price range,” he said. “I’m always looking and hopefully we can find a few more.”

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