Te Awamutu horseman Clayton Chipperfield is pleased with the progress of his stable star Catalyst as he builds towards a spring campaign in Sydney.
The son of Darci Brahma is likely to have at least one trial before crossing the Tasman and is set to have a hit-out at the Taupo trials on August 12.
“He will go there and have a nice blowout and we will know where he is at from there, but he certainly feels a lot bigger under me and is a lot stronger,” Chipperfield said.
“He is a lot more switched on mentally too which is certainly positive when we’re looking at Australia because he has got some big goals ahead of him.”
The winner of six of his seven starts in New Zealand, Catalyst finished second to Alligator Blood in the Gr.3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) in an enthralling clash at Flemington, but failed to fire when sixth in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) to the same rival and was later found to have an issue that put an end to his autumn campaign.
The rising four-year-old is showing no signs of the heat in his joints which halted his last campaign and has been eased back into work after a month on the water walker at Kendayla Park.
“The big advantage was being able to get him half-fit without putting any pressure on him,” Chipperfield said.
“He has come back fresh and well and feels sensational.”
Catalyst is likely to resume in the Gr.2 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 19 and the versatile sprinter-miler could be in for a busy but potentially lucrative October with the A$500,000 Silver Eagle (1300m) on October 10 a likely stepping stone to the A$7.5million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill on October 31.
“In between the Silver Eagle and the Golden Eagle is The Everest (A$15 million, 1200m), so if he can get a slot in that, that is possibly on the cards as well,” Chipperfield said.
“The way he won his 1200m and 1400m races here, I don’t think the 1200m of The Everest relatively early on in his prep would be too much of an issue.
“Given the couple of run alongs that he has had this time around, the turn of foot is definitely still there but his stride is even longer. So if he can sprint with that long stride, I don’t think 1200m is going to be an issue at all for him.”
Meanwhile, Chipperfield was pleased to see three-year-old filly London Bound win a 900m trial on Tuesday at Te Rapa and hopes she can recapture her best form after showing promise as a late two-year-old.
“She was quite impressive on Tuesday,” Chipperfield said. “There is still plenty of improvement in her.
“We will look to start her off at Taupo and get her back in to some winning form. There is a Rating 65 race for her on August 12 that will be ideal for her.
“We will start her off there and then look for a plan. If she can go on and show the ability that she showed last year, then it would be good to get some black-type with her.”
Chipperfield also has plenty of time for a Roc De Cambes filly called Lovettorleaveit who will make her debut step at the same Taupo racemeeting.