New Zealand Derby winner Puccini has been given a wet welcome to Sydney ahead of his bid to uphold kiwi pride in the Rosehill Guineas.
The Rosehill Guineas trophy has headed across the Tasman twice in the past three years courtesy of Jimmy Choux in 2011 and It’s A Dundeel 12 months ago.
Puccini’s trainer Peter McKay also flew to Sydney on Monday and said he was pleased with how the colt had travelled but the news it was expected to rain for several days introduced a new element.
“He has never raced on a really wet track so I’m unsure how he will handle it if it keeps raining,” McKay said.
“This is new for me. I’ve never travelled a horse to Australia before but I’m happy with how he was when he got off the plane.
“The Rosehill Guineas is a very strong field and maybe those horses might be a bit nippy for him.
“But one thing I know is that my horse can run the distance so when we get to the Derby I’ll have no fears about that.
“But over 2000 metres on Saturday horses like Shamus Award and Dissident might have it over him.
“As long as he runs well, I’ll be happy. I hope he is in the first three.”
Puccini is the favourite for the $2 million Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 12.
Cox Plate winner Shamus Award is not headed to the Derby but most of the other 19 Guineas entrants will be on trial for the staying test.
Murray Baker, trainer of It’s A Dundeel who made a clean sweep of Sydney’s three-year-old features in 2013, has Atlante and Show The World in the race.
The winner of the New Zealand Guineas (1600m) Atlante followed a close second to Dissident in the Hobartville Stakes with sixth place in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) while Show The World finished 12th.
Puccini’s jockey Michael Walker front a judiciary panel in New Zealand on Thursday over comments he made on Australian television regarding his inability to ride two horses at Ellerslie on Derby day.
Walker is expected to be fined but even if he receives a suspension, it will not start until after the Rosehill meeting.