Catalyst, the well performed Darci Brahma gelding who won six out of ten starts for trainer Clayton Chipperfield before pulling up lame in the Group 2 Shorts at Randwick back on September 9, 2020 (in a race won by Classique Legend) has pleased his new trainer Tony Pike in preparation for his proposed comeback in the Spring.
The New Zealand bred won six in a row in his homeland, from May 2019 to January 2020. Those wins reflected Catalyst’s impressive, natural improvement as his winning sequence included successes all the way from his Maiden win, through to Listed company (in the El Roca Trophy at Hastings), then to Group 3 level in the Northland Breeders’ Stakes before taking both the Group 2 Hawkes Bay Guineas and then the Group 1, New Zealand 2000 Guineas in his stride.
He followed up that Group 1 win with a sixth straight win in the Group 3 Mr Tiz Trophy at Ellerslie.
Buoyed by that run of success, in which Catalyst always finished at least 2.30 lengths clear of his nearest rival, Catalyst then arrived in Australia where his first mission was the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes, a race which produced an almighty, punishing stride for stride battle between Catalyst and the equally well performed Alligator Blood, with the latter ultimately ending Catalyst’s winning sequence by the narrowest of margins.
Catalyst was not quite the same horse in his next two starts, finishing unplaced in the Group 1 Australian Guineas and tailed off in his last start in the Group 2 Shorts (where he pulled up lame) … but those results did not detract in any way from what he had achieved in his previous results.
Fast forward ten months and Catalyst, now with trainer Tony Pike, is on his way back with a slow but steady approach.
Again, Catalyst’s will initially target races in New Zealand when he resumes with Pike laying out the following gameplan.
“He is going to have a barrier trial here on August 3,” Pike told the NZ Racing Desk. “He will trial again on August 17. He will likely have two runs here in New Zealand in the (Group 2) Foxbridge Plate and the Tarzino Trophy, the 1400m Group One at Hawke’s Bay.
“If we think we have got him back to his best there are two options for him, one is Sydney or else there are a couple of nice races in Melbourne, like the Toorak.”
After the barrier trials Pike will know more about Catalyst’s current level of progress but, if he comes back with his previous zest for racing, with his credentials, he could be heading towards an exciting campaign as a five-year-old.