Bryce Heys realises the enormity of the task Stylebender (NZ) (Tavistock) faces in the Bondi Stakes (1600m) but the trainer thinks his improving colt can give a good sight in the $1 million race at Randwick.
The lightly-raced Stylebender still carries a maiden tag and is clearly a work in progress, but after an improved performance at Hawkesbury connections were keen to push on to Saturday’s rich three-year-old feature.
“We were aiming at this race from the outset of this preparation,” Heys said.
“It’s not ideal he hasn’t won a race but the way he has trained on since his last run, we thought we’d have a go.
“There’s a few ahead of him on form and they might be a touch strong but he’s drawn a good gate for a change and with an economical run in transit, I expect him to be strong late.”
Stylebender clearly appreciated the addition of blinkers and a rise to 1600m last start when he made late ground from the tail of the field to finish second to the Clarry Conners-trained Real Peace, who is also a runner in the Bondi Stakes.
Heys confirmed the son of ill-fated Cambridge Stud sire Tavistock has a date planned with the veterinarian’s scalpel and will head for a spell after Saturday.
“He’s still quite immature physically but he does look to have some staying ability so gelding will help him,” he said.
Heys purchased Stylebender privately after he was passed in at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale last November from the draft of Ohukia Lodge.
“He’s out of a very stout French family on his mother’s side and we are hoping he’ll eventually get to 2400 metres,” Heys said.
Champion South African trainer Mike de Kock has a multiple stakes winning half-brother to Stylebender called Frosted Gold.
“The ATC Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) may be too soon but we would love to see him get to a Queensland Derby (Gr.1, 2400m),” Heys said.
“He’s probably still another preparation away but he’s as good as we can have him. He’s worked really well and he looks awesome.”