Trainer Clayton Chipperfield has had a change of heart and boom New Zealand three-year-old Catalyst will not wear blinkers in Australia.
After the gelding’s sluggish start in Saturday’s Group Three Mr Tiz Trophy victory at Ellerslie, the trainer’s immediate thoughts were to re-apply the blinkers.
But after studying the replay, Chipperfield said it was not Catalyst’s fault he came out last and the gear was unnecessary.
“I thought straight away we might have made a blue in taking the hood off,” Chipperfield told NZ Racing Desk.
“However, when I’ve watched the replay a couple of times you can see he actually anticipated the start and smashed his head on the front of the gate.
“As he steps back the gates have opened so that’s why he has missed the kick.
“I can confirm now he won’t be wearing the hood for his first run in Australia.
Catalyst easily closed the gap on his rivals approaching the home turn on Saturday and put them away comfortably.
“He can just get himself going in a few strides,” Chipperfield said.
“You can put him anywhere you like in a race and he can catch them and put them away so quick.
“He was eight lengths off them approaching the turn and by halfway up the straight he was home.”
Catalyst is booked on a flight to Melbourne in two weeks to prepare for the Group Three C S Hayes (1400m) at Flemington.
“He travelled home last night and put his head straight in the feed bin,” Chipperfield said.
“He had a bit of a run around his paddock this morning and is nice and free so he has come through the race well.
“His main target is the Australian Guineas two weeks after that although we will be looking to make a statement first-up as he is still well in contention for a start in the All-Star Mile (March 14).”
The final field for the $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Caulfield is primarily decided by public vote with Chipperfield aware his star needs more support to take one of the 10 automatic spots decided by that vote.
“I think voting closes the day after the C S Hayes so it would be good to see him win or go really well so the Australian public get in behind him,” Chipperfield said.
“We know he has a big New Zealand following but we need that Aussie interest to get him over the line.”