David Vandyke has a definite Golden Slipper horse in his stable and by the end of the week he could have a wildcard for The Championships.
But the promise of a profitable autumn isn’t enough to stop the trainer from quitting Sydney racing.
Vandyke has announced plans to move to Queensland where he will train out of the Sunshine Coast racetrack at Caloundra.
It’s a move that has been in the making since last year’s Brisbane winter carnival, but one that has still taken the industry by surprise.
Vandyke said he wasn’t enjoying the demands of running a yard in Sydney and trying to compete with the mega stables led by Chris Waller.
“I’m not really into sitting in the office too long if I can help it. Working one on one with the horses is what I enjoy most,” he said.
Vandyke plans to be up and running in Queensland in time for the start of the new racing season in August.
In the meantime his focus will be on having Yankee Rose right to go first-up in next month’s Golden Slipper and of more immediate concern will be the return to racing of a lightly raced three-year-old at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
Once Were Warriors resumes in the TAB Rewards Handicap and holds nominations for the ATC Australian Derby and the Doncaster Mile, two marquee Group One races run during The Championships in April.
Bred on staying lines, Once Were Warriors hasn’t been seen at the races since a midweek debut stamped him as a horse of considerable promise.
After being last to leave the barriers and racing too far out of his ground, Once Were Warriors found the line better than anything to be beaten less than three lengths over 1100m.
He resumes at 1400m in a race where the gelding has already attracted support.
“If the race was over a mile at Randwick I’d be a bit more confident but in saying that I think he is a horse on he way up and he should run well,” Vandyke said.
Vandyke will also start Arsonist at Warwick Farm, confident the colt will show his true form after failing in the wet at Canterbury.