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Having produced former New Zealander Travolta to win the Listed Australia Day Cup at Randwick, Gai Waterhouse will now send him back to his homeland for a bigger prize.

Waterhouse nominated the Group One Auckland Cup (3200m) on March 5 as the target for Travolta who prevailed in a head and head battle with Big Memory in Saturday’s Australia Day Cup (2400m).


Travolta - Photo by Steve Hart

Sent out the $2.35 favourite, Travolta had a margin of a short head over Big Memory ($10) with the pair three lengths ahead of third placed Brigantin ($3.60).

“I really like this horse,” Waterhouse said.

“He is another one Rob (Waterhouse) has found in New Zealand and I think we might even go back.

“All the best stayers will be here so the Auckland Cup looks a nice race for him.

“We took the blinkers off today and he responded. Every time he goes round he collects a cheque for his owners and is just so honest.”

His jockey Nash Rawiller said Travolta settled down for the fight with Big Memory and would not give in.

“The blinkers off helped him today,” Rawiller said.

“He just kept on finding. The tempo suited and he was strong on the line.”

Rawiller said the 3200 metres of the Auckland Cup should not be beyond Travolta.

“I think without the blinkers he will thrive over the trip,” he said.

As a three-year-old, Travolta finished fourth in the 2012 Group Two Avondale Guineas and an unlucky sixth in the New Zealand Derby both won by Silent Achiever.

While she is looking for the easiest Group One race for Travolta, there will be no easy races for established elite stable performers including Fiorente.

The Melbourne Cup winner galloped with stablemate Carlton House between races at Randwick for the second Saturday in a row.

And for the second time, Carlton House shaded him on the line.

“I think Fiorente needs a bit more work before we decide where he starts off,” Waterhouse said.

“I’m thinking about the Expressway for Carlton House. I will be seeing the Queen’s racing manager Johnnie Warren in New Zealand next week and we will talk about it then.”

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