A return to the Group One winners’ list has opened up options for Volkstok’n’barrell.
Last season’s Rosehill Guineas winner endured a miserable spring when he was unplaced in five Group One races in Melbourne.
When he returned to New Zealand he was found to be suffering from an asthma-related complaint and trainer Donna Logan nursed him back to health at her Ruakaka seaside base.
He made the long float trip to Otaki on Saturday to take out the Haunui Classic (1600m) to reaffirm his class.
Volkstok’n’barrell is entered for the Doncaster Mile and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Sydney but could also stay home for the New Zealand Stakes.
“It’s a long trip for him and I just want get him home and see how he is,” Logan told nzracing.co.
“We’re very proud of the horse and it’s all about him so we’ll make a decision in due course.”
At his first start since the spring, Volkstok’n’barrell finished sixth in the Waikato Sprint, a run Logan found encouraging.
Although he was beaten 10 lengths that day, star three-year-old Xtravagant accounted for the runner-up by eight lengths.
“He did a lot of work in the race and he was still fat,” Logan said.
“I thought he would at least be a top three chance (at Otaki).
Vinnie Colgan settled Volkstok’n’barrell midfield and one off the fence before urging him into gear in the straight.
The four-year-old went on to beat Julinsky Prince by a length with Scapolo a close third.
While Logan and training partner Chris Gibbs contemplate the next step with Volkstok’n’barrell, stablemate Hasselhoof will go to the spelling paddock after a two-start Sydney campaign.
“I’m not 100 per cent happy with him so he’s gone out for a spell,” Logan said.
“It’s nothing major, just a few immaturity issues and smoke can turn to fire if you press ahead.”