Kiwi three-year-old Bitcoin (NZ) (Tarzino) made a good impression at his Australian debut when winning the Brandt Maiden Plate (2000m) at Ballarat on Wednesday for new trainer Lindsey Smith.
The son of Tarzino had been placed twice from four starts for Cambridge trainer Andrew Forsman, including a third placing in the Listed Gingernuts Salver (2100m), after which he was partially sold to Spicer Thoroughbreds.
After finishing down the track in a muddling-run Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2100m), connections elected to bypass the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and focus on a campaign that culminates in the Gr.1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville on May 13.
A full-brother to last season’s outstanding Gr.1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) winner Gypsy Goddess (NZ), Bitcoin showed his staying prowess, when scoring a comfortable four-and-a-half length victory at Ballarat on Wednesday.
“It was a relief more than anything,” Spicer said.
“We had him earmarked for the New Zealand Derby (Gr.1, 2400m) but in a lead-up run he just lost his way a little bit. We decided to bring him over here and try and get a little bit of confidence with the horse and hopefully head to South Australia with him (for the Derby).
“John Malcolm, the owner in New Zealand, approached us at the Magic Millions Sale and said he’d love to bring him over to Australia and sell down half.
“We bought half on the proviso that he came across to Lindsey.
“Andrew (Forsman) was going to have him for the New Zealand Derby and then do the baton changeover.
“He had a little bit of a cold when he arrived so it has taken Lindsey a little bit of time to get him right.
“Today we have seen him stand up. That is what we needed to see today to go to South Australia with a bit of confidence.
“He has raced against some really good horses in New Zealand and when he has got it right, he has been really competitive.
“He was a 12-1 shot for the Derby over there, so you’d expect him to come here and be really competitive in a maiden and now we have got to hope that he can take that next step, so fingers crossed.”
John and Rachel Malcolm’s Cheltenham Stables purchased Bitcoin for just $4,300 as a weanling from the draft of Curraghmore at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Weanling Sale conducted on Gavelhouse Plus in the Covid year of 2020. -NZ Racing Desk