Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Asterix returns to the races at Te Rapa on Saturday.
The four-year-old, who was purchased out of Curaghmore's draft as a Ready To Run 2YO, will race for the first time since his Derby success in the open 1600m handicap after a long build-up necessitated by remedial work on his feet.
Co-trainer Andrew Scott said there were no set plans for Asterix, other than to get him up over ground over late summer and autumn.
“We’re just excited to have him back running,” said Scott, who trains Asterix along with Lance O’Sullivan at Matamata.
“He trialled well a couple of weeks ago, and we’re looking forward to getting a run into him and getting a campaign underway.
“He’ll probably run another mile after this weekend so he’s got a good grounding and then we can look to get him to 2000m and beyond.”
Asterix, who races in the colours of Sam Kelt and is part-owned by former Black Caps cricketer Mark Greatbatch, didn’t win until his third start, but at his next start he stayed on strongly to beat La Crique and Regal Lion in the New Zealand Derby.
That proved to be his last race as a three-year-old as his feet were giving him problems. He has since undergone remedial surgery and Scott said he was better for the time off.
“Certainly the spring off has physically done him the world of good,” he said.
“His physical development shows that he’s improved a lot from three to four, so we’ve got to hope he has a trouble-free campaign, that we can get a good campaign into him.
“Hopefully he’s going to head to Australia in the autumn for racing over the long trips. We have no real plans set, but we’re just hoping to get there.”
Asterix won the Derby on a Good 3 surface but his maiden victory came on a Heavy 8 track and Scott said any give in the ground would only aid him.
“But to say he’s going to run amongst them this weekend, well 1600m is probably a bit sharp – it took him 2000m to win a race.” -NZ Racing News