Premier Sydney jockey James McDonald will ride Curraghmore graduate Conqueror in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) as he and the Lindsay Park stable chase back-to-back wins in the race at Ellerslie on January 25th.
They combined to win in 2019 with fellow Curraghmore graduate Long Leaf and McDonald will ride Conqueror for the first time in the $1 million race for graduates of the Karaka sale.
Like Long Leaf last season, Conqueror was placed in the Sandown Guineas at the back end of the Melbourne spring and has had one lead-up run in Melbourne in early January in preparation for the New Zealand feature.
Conqueror showed he was on track for his trip across the Tasman when he won a 1400m benchmark-78 race against older horses at Caulfield eight days ago with Damien Oliver aboard.
"He came through the win at Caulfield well and he will head over the week of the race," Lindsay Park co-trainer Tom Dabernig said.
"We're trying to follow a similar pattern to what we did with Long Leaf.
"James McDonald is booked for the ride and everything looks to be on track.
"We didn't have him 100 per cent wound up for that race at Caulfield, thinking in three weeks time we were going to a mile.
"We did that with the travel and everything in mind.
"He did a good job to win and there will probably be a bit of improvement to come."
Dabernig said Conqueror was a sensible colt with a great temperament who should handle the travel.
"The race is Sydney way of going (clockwise) but he has been doing some work that way and he's a very balanced horse so I think he'll adapt pretty well," Dabernig said.
"He's been in right through spring but he had seven weeks from the Sandown Guineas to the race at Caulfield so he had a working holiday."
Bred by the China Horse Club, Conqueror is out of Group One winning mare Diademe and was knocked down to Lindsay Park Racing and Mark Pilkington Management for $1,000,000 at the 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock yearling sales. -AAP