Blue Sky Bloodstock yearling purchases' Woodbine and Havana chase stakes race success tomorrow for trainers Gai Waterhouse and Paul Messara on Day 2 of The Championships at Randwick. Feature race success for owners on big carnival days is what Julian Blaxland and his team strive for when selecting yearlings from the thousands offered at Magic Millions, Inglis and New Zealand Bloodstock sales every year. "I'm delighted for our owners that they're represented by these two nice horses on Sydney's biggest day of racing" said Blaxland. "It's why we do what we do and it's why people race horses, to feel the obvious thrill of owning a competitive horse in a nice race during the carnival".
Woodbine has opened $3.80 favourite (into $3.50) in Race 2, the Listed South Pacific Stakes over 1400m after a freshen up and a trial win 2 weeks ago and according to trainer Gai Waterhouse is a red hot chance to notch his fourth win from seven starts with Tommy Berry aboad. A winner at his first two starts this prep at Randwick and Rosehill over 1200m, the son of Miss Finland then placed 4th in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes, before being a late scratching prior to the Group 1 Randwick Guineas with a foot abscess. A troubled run for 6th in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) prompted Waterhouse to decide against a crack at the ATC Derby and instead to freshen the colt with a trial and return to the shorter trip of 1400m for tomorrow's meeting. "Gai felt he wasn't ready to stay the trip in the Derby after his Phar Lap run and gave him a couple of easy weeks and a trial ahead of Saturday" said Blaxland. "To my eye he's strengthened up considerably over the prep and from a future stallion prospect perspective, a stakes win at three would be a great result." Still a prep away from his best according to his trainer, Woodbine is certainly a colt worth following in the spring.
Two races later on Randwick card, 3yo Starcraft gelding Havana takes his place in the $500,000 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes over 1200m. An impressive winner first up in March at Canterbury by 4L, Havana is starting to realise the enormous potential he showed as a 2yo since being gelded over the Christmas period. "He's always shown plenty of ability and was in fact first emergency for the Golden Slipper last year after running 3rd in the Group 2 Todman Stakes" said Blaxland. "But the longer he remained a colt, the worse his attitude became and he developed a habit of staying in the barriers and giving the field four and five lengths start. The ultimate gear change has certainly focused him on the job and if the track improves to a Slow 6 or a Dead 5, he'll be flying home over the last two furlongs". Craig Williams takes the ride on Havana tomorrow and it's expected after Saturday, trainer Paul Messara will travel the 3yo to Brisbane, targeting major features during the Winter Carnival for the Magic Millions graduate.