Smart Cambridge three-year-old Hypnos is set to embark on a delayed Australian campaign, but with a change of direction.
The Grroup 1 Levin Classic (1600m) runner-up is booked to leave New Zealand on Wednesday bound for Melbourne to make his Australian debut in a three-year-old handicap over 1400m at Caulfield on Saturday.
The original plan for Hypnos was a Queensland campaign kicking off with a start in Saturday’s Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1400m) at Eagle Farm, but a poor fresh-up performance when tailing the field home in the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa late last month resulted in trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood scrapping that plan.
“We hadn’t planned on him running so badly fresh-up and because of that we decided not to put him on the plane,’’ James said.
“That put us one step behind. We needed him to run well and when he did that at Te Rapa last start we looked for the best option in Australia for him.
“The Fred Best Classic would suit him at set weights, but it’s just come up too soon. The Melbourne race is a handicap and he could end up being topweight, but it’s worth A$135,000 as against A$150,000 for the Fred Best Classic, so stakes-wise there’s not much in it.’’
The event at Caulfield is heat two in the Silver Bowl series and the winner is exempt from the ballot for the Silver Bowl Final (1600m) at Flemington on July 6.
“If he goes well next Saturday there’s the same sort of race a fortnight later for him and again after that,’’ James said.
Michael Dee, a former successful New Zealand apprentice, has been booked to ride Hypnos for owners Ron and Fran Dixon in his Australian debut.
Dee, the Dixons and James have already combined to enjoy a highlight as it was aboard the Dixon owned and James-trained Hera that Dee recorded his first black type win when taking the 2013 Group 2 Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie.
Hypnos has won two of his 10 starts and been placed on five occasions with his best win being the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie last December after finishing third on the same course earlier in the month in the Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m).
He went on to finish second equal behind Madison County in the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) and showed a glimpse of that form when charging home for second behind Cyber Attack in three-year-old 1200m event at Te Rapa last start.