Garbhan’s first exposure to elite company has convinced Mitch Newman the Queensland Derby is a viable target for the star of his stable.
Eagle Farm on June 10 always looked enticing for the Hawkesbury trainer, and Garbhan’s fourth in the Group Two Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 25 underscored his potential for a trip to Brisbane.
Garbhan resumes racing in a 1550m-benchmark race at Canterbury on Wednesday, well-rested after his exertions on an unfavourable heavy track where he was headed by regular Group One contenders Jon Snow and Prized Icon.
“The Derby has been our earmarked race so we stepped him up into that company in the Tulloch and there was a lot of credit in the run,” Newman said.
“You want to see if they’re going to make the grade before you get too carried away, and he did.”
“Hughie got off him and said he’s got a bit of class. He said although the penny hasn’t dropped with him, if it does he could be well and truly in a race like the Derby.”
Newman sent Garbhan to the paddock for 10 days after the Tulloch and gave him a barrier trial last month to get him fit for an anticipated Group One debut over 2400m.
The trainer said Garbhan would complete his Sydney preparations in a 2000m-benchmark race at Randwick on May 27.
A former jockey, Newman won two Sydney’s apprentices’ premierships in 1998/99 and 2000/01 and began training six years ago.
He rates Garbhan the best horse he has handled so far.
“I had Net Worth who won at Warwick Farm (and Wyong) for me. I’ve been chipping away with nice horses without having anything too flash,” he said.
“When I gave Garbhan his first gallop I thought the was a real nice horse, one that will get over a bit of ground,” Newman said.