The in-form Von Tunzelman is likely to be a starter in the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes next weekend.
Trainer Roger James would love to open Von Tunzelman’s Australian account in Sydney on Saturday week, but instead it seems he will be heading to Ellerslie the same day for the weight-for-age feature.
After watching Von Tunzelman win the Listed Marks, Ewen & Associates Kaimai Stakes last Saturday, James and the horse’s part-owner, Brendan Lindsay, discussed possible Sydney plans and settled on the Gr.3 A$350,000 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 11.
“It’s set weights and penalties and would be ideal for him, but we’ve got the problem of getting him there,” James said.
“Now the plane only goes on a Monday so it doesn’t give you the option of seeing the noms or the weather plan beforehand.
“It’s too much of a risk to go over there not knowing what he will be up against and what the weather is likely to be, or whether, in fact, he will make the field. Instead we’re leaning toward the weight-for-age at Ellerslie next Saturday.
“It’s against everything I prefer, but we’ve got no other option. He’s not as well placed at weight-for-age as he would be in the Sydney race.
“It’s frustrating the planes don’t go every day like they used to.”
James is, obviously, pleased with how well Von Tunzelman has done since his Matamata win and says if the trip had have worked out there were other options for the talented stayer after the Sky High Stakes.
Von Tunzelman took his record to four wins and five placings from 10 starts when coming from back in the field to beat Fanatic in the Kaimai Stakes.
A start earlier he had been unlucky when second at Te Rapa behind Hushed, who is a candidate for next Saturday’s Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup.
- NZ Racing Desk | Pic Trish Dunell