The direction of Summer Passage’s spring campaign will become clearer after Saturday’s Gr.2 Danehill Stakes at Flemington.
The leading New Zealand colt will make his three-year-old debut in the 1200 metre event, in which he will be ridden by Mark Zahra.
“We’ll wait and see what happens, they could be a bit too sharp for him,” said Lance O’Sullivan, who trains Summer Passage with Andrew Scott. “He’s $12 in the latest market, which gives an indication of the calibre of the field.
“He’s much more relaxed this time and we’ve got two options with him – we can stick to the short trip and go forward to the Coolmore, but if they are a little too fast then we have nominated him for the Caulfield Guineas.
“We’ll sit down after Saturday and make a decision about which way we go.”
Summer Passage won last season’s Gr.1 Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie to earn the son of Snitzel a trip to Sydney. He finished runner-up in the Gr.1 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick and that venture has stood him in good stead.
“He’s a pretty seasoned traveller now,” O’Sullivan said. “He went over late on Saturday night and he’s fine, he just left a bit of his feed.
“It’s a little bit of unknown territory for us as we haven’t travelled a horse to Australia to run fresh-up in the past.
“We’ve done what we can with the wet tracks here. He’s had a couple of quiet trials and he’s done all he’s been asked to do, he trialled okay without being sensational.
“He looks good and there is no doubt there will be natural improvement to come, but Andrew and I both feel he’s forward enough to go a really nice race.”
– NZ Racing Desk