An Australian campaign beckons Von Tunzelman if he shapes up well at Te Rapa on Friday. A wet track saw Von Tunzelman withdrawn from the Taranaki meeting last weekend, but he is poised to compete in the New Zealand Red Cross 1400 with Leith Innes booked for the mount.
“We’re hoping to get him to Australia after this run,” trainer Roger James said.
“He still fits into the Rating 90 band over there so there are good options in Sydney and Melbourne for him. He can run in two or three of the lesser races with a view to being more adventurous in the autumn.”
Von Tunzelman has won four of his 12 starts, including the Listed Kaimai Stakes at Matamata last February, and he ended his last campaign with a sixth in the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) won by Lizzie L’Amour.
He performed well in his one start this season when third behind Brilliant Shine on a Heavy 11 track at Ellerslie last month.
“It was a huge run first-up on an atrocious track,” James said. “I’ve tried to keep him fresh to get another 1400 metres out of him, even though he’s not a 1400-metre horse.”
Maturity is playing its hand with Von Tunzelman, according to James.
“He’s got more relaxed and is very laid back,” he said. “I’m really happy with him. I’ve never had him better.”
James has a busy day at Te Rapa with six acceptors, though there is a doubt Terrifique will take his place in the Yardhouse 1200. “I’d need the track to come back a bit better for him,” James said.
James will start the day with two runners in the first event, Cool Tart and Twinkles. Both mares are fresh-up and raced by Kevin Hickman, who also has Misty Music starting from the James stable.
Cool Tart will be ridden by James’ apprentice Gee Saejorhor, who will be chasing his first win, while Vinnie Colgan has the mount on Twinkles.
“Cool Tart will improve with the run but has the benefit of Gee’s four kilo claim and Twinkles went out in great form and can go a big race,” James said.
Poker Face will represent the James stable in the fourth event, a Rating 65 1600 metres, and he will be looking for a change of luck after his last-start fourth at Hastings.
“I think he’s a winning chance,” James said. “He went really good fresh-up at Hastings. He should have run third but was hampered the last bit.”
Misty Music will make up the Te Rapa squad for James when contesting the final event, a Rating 65 1400m. She has shown promise with a win and a third from two starts.
“I’ve always rated her highly,” James said. “She’s had a lot of time off with back problems, but she’s come back well. She’s a mile and a half horse who could run well fresh.”
James will have just the one runner, the very talented Killarney, at Hastings on Saturday. Killarney will contest the Rating 85 1200m and be ridden by Colgan.
The five-year-old son of O’Reilly has been off the scene since taking his record to four wins and two seconds from seven starts with victory at Te Rapa last April.
“He’s not the soundest and we’ve had a few hiccups in his preparation,” James said.
“We think we’ve got him right so we’ll find out on Saturday. It’s a solid field but he’s up to it. I’ve always thought he could be good enough to be a Telegraph Handicap horse.” – NZ Racing Desk