A notoriously bad traveller, Japanese mare Hana’s Goal has surprised her owner Michael Tabart with just how well she has done in Australia.
Tabart even makes a case for a wide barrier being a positive as she heads to Saturday’s Group One Coolmore Classic at Rosehill.
The only possible downside would be a wet track but the rain that hit Sydney overnight on Thursday missed the western Sydney track giving Tabart confidence the Group Three winner can prove herself a worthy adversary against some of our best mares.
An ex-pat Australian, Tabart arrived in Sydney this week excited by the prospect of being a ground breaker for future international horses targeting the Sydney autumn.
He has enlisted Craig Williams to ride the mare in her first Sydney assignment based on the international jockey’s experience in Japan.
“Hana’s Goal is not a good traveller but she really thrived down at the Werribee quarantine centre,” Tabart said.
“I was very happy when I saw her. She is not a big horse and is about five kilos above her normal racing weight.
“The barrier really isn’t a concern. She is going to get back anyway and she has raced 14 wide on a big track in Japan.
“She has one of the best finishing sprints over there.
“I won’t mind if she is three-wide as long as she has cover. If she is happy in the run then hopefully she’ll be flying down the outside in the straight.
“I’ve known Craig for a while and we meet up when he is in Japan. He hasn’t ridden her in a race before but he has always wanted to.
“He has ridden her in work since she has been here and was amazed by her acceleration.”
A $20,000 horse which can win a Group Three race is a bargain in any currency, especially in Japan where the breeding industry is dominated by the big farms operated by the Yoshida family.
Tabart said the $3 million Doncaster Mile on April 12 was the major target for Hana’s Goal but a good performance over 1500m in the Coolmore would go a long way to helping the quest to get an invitation to the Hong Kong Champion’s Mile in May.
Hana’s Goal has won five races, four over 1600m including the Kyoto Himba in January last year.
All Tabart’s horses are named for his wife Hana including Hana’s Fifty, a maiden filly who accompanied Hana’s Goal to Australia.
“Hana’s Goal doesn’t like to be by herself so the other filly came too,” Tabart said.
“There is a race on Saturday week at Newcastle that could suit her.”
Catkins holds sway in markets at $4 with Steps In Time at $9 the only other runner under double digits on Friday.
Hana’s Goal was a $15 chance. She is at $26 for the Doncaster with markets headed by the 2013 Coolmore winner Appearance.