Gai Waterhouse’s Group One Queensland Derby hopes rest with a gelding she originally earmarked as a sprinter.
Originally based at Waterhouse’s Flemington stable, Han Xin was sent to Brisbane after his third in the Listed Galilee Series Final (2400m) at Caulfield in mid-April.
“The option was to go to South Australia (for the Derby) but his last start took a bit out of him,” Waterhouse’s training partner, Adrian Bott, said.
“So we opted to give him a bit of time. We brought him up to Sydney, trialled him here and travelled him up. That time allowed him to bounce back to his best.”
Bott said the duo had always had a high opinion of the gelding and tried him over shorter distances believing as a son of five-time Group One-winning sprinter Sepoy, that’s where he would be suited.
Han Xin had two runs over sprint distances before he broke his maiden over 1600m at Ballarat in March.
Later that month he stepped up successfully to 2000m at Caulfield for his second career win.
“In fairness he’s excelled once we got him over ground. We initially saw him as more of a sprinter/miler sort of type the way he’s built and being by Sepoy,” Bott said.
“We initially thought he’d be a quite a speed horse. He does have plenty of speed, but it looks like it’s just staying speed.”
Han Xin showcased those capabilities at Doomben on May 26 when he was a close second to Heavenly Thought in the Group Three Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) by a short neck.
“It was a good test with that amount of time between runs,” Bott said.
“He led them up from a wide gate, he led at a good tempo, the pressure came on at the 1000 (metres) and he was able to quicken off that again only to be done late,” Bott said.
“There’s certainly hope for him in the Derby.”