Having plundered many of the dollars on offer over the Sydney autumn carnival, the New Zealanders are preparing an assault on Queensland.
A plane carrying 28 horses will leave Auckland bound for Brisbane on Thursday night with trainer Shaune Ritchie securing four berths.
Delago’s Secret, Full Count and Lady Cumquat will form the nucleus of the Roger James team after the trainer went home from Sydney with two Group One trophies courtesy of Silent Achiever.
Two of Ritchie’s horses, veteran Military Move and three-year-old filly Chop Chop, will line up at the Gold Coast meeting on Saturday ahead of bigger targets over the winter carnival.
Military Move contests the Group Two Hollindale Stakes (1800m) while Oaks aspirant Chop Chop runs over the same distance in the Listed Bracelet.
The winner of the 2010 New Zealand Derby, Military Move made his race return for Ritchie a year ago after spending two seasons in Hong Kong.
“He has been a wonderful horse to us and the Hollindale will tell us where he fits,” Ritchie said.
“We are under no illusions that he is getting on now but apart from Streama I don’t think it is a stellar Hollindale.
“Chop Chop has the right form lines around her in New Zealand so I’d like to think she can be very competitive and go on to the Queensland Oaks.
“The Kiwis are keen to get some more of the money. Besides it’s a lot warmer in Queensland than the Waikato.”
Last November, Chop Chop finished a nose second in a 1400m maiden at Dargaville won by Rising Romance, winner of the $1 million ATC Oaks.
She has gone on to win two races and most recently finished fourth in the New Zealand Oaks.
“I’m also a bringing a maiden galloper and Glorious Lad who will run on Saturday week in the Rough Habit on the way to the Queensland Derby,” Ritchie said.
“He ran third in the New Zealand Derby behind Puccini and Rising Romance.”
Glorious Lad was second last Friday in a 1600m race at Avondale win by Rising Romance’s Donna Logan-trained stablemate Telepathic who is being aimed at the Queensland Oaks.
Ric McMahon will ride both Ritchie-trained horses on Saturday.
Military Move and Streama are the only two Group One winners in the Hollindale for which there were 12 entries taken on Monday including multiple Group winner Precedence.