(By John Jenkins)
Tauranga trainer Mark Blackie hinted at a possible Sydney spring campaign for unbeaten Blood Warrior after the big four-year-old took out the $22,500 Rating 65 Barfoot & Thompson 1200 at Ellerslie today.
The Makfi gelding was having his second start after an impressive all the way winning debut over 1200m at Te Aroha in November last year and had won three barrier trials before that.
He led throughout again today and, despite doing a lot wrong over the final stages, still proved too good for the opposition. He scored a neck decision over Cin Cin with Pink Graffiti getting in the deciding stride to snatch third, half a length behind the first two.
The siren sounded before the horse’s had returned to the birdcage with the connections of second placed Cin Cin requesting to see video footage of the race with a view to possible interference to their horse when Blood Warrior shifted outwards near the 250m mark. However they elected not to proceed with an objection.
Blood Warrior had moved outwards several times in the straight but jockey Vinnie Colgan was confident the horse would hold the race.
“He got a bit lost up the straight but I didn’t put him under a lot of pressure. I just rode hands and heels and he was too good,” Colgan said.
Blackie, who is among a large group of owners in Blood Warrior, rates the big chestnut one of the best horses he has had anything to do with and predicts he will progress quickly to open grade.
“He’s a bit of a raw talent and has got a lot to learn but that was pretty good today in his first run since November,” Blackie said.
“There is a Rating 72 race at Ruakaka in a couple of weeks for him and we’ll look at a couple of races in Sydney in November. I think he’ll go to open grade straight away,” he added.