While the focus remains on the important spring contenders, we were also excited to see a few of our talented summer/autumn horses step out in their first return trials this morning.
Heading over to New Zealand, we saw 4yo gelding Mark Twain make his return over 1150m at Te Awamutu, where he finished a close second.
Trainer Robert Wellwood commented after the trial: “I’m really happy with him. It was good to see him jump and put himself into the trial. We just wanted to see him get into a rhythm and relax, he finished off nicely. He is in tremendous order and looks super. We will see how he comes through the trial and make plans from there.”
Mark Twain was a winner over 2100m in February this year, prior to running fourth in the Group 1 NZ Derby in March. In that race, he ran on strongly down the outside from near last, just missing out on a Group 1 placing. The run also indicated that he might prefer further distance in the future. Mark Twain has had a lengthy spell and has come on well for the upcoming campaign.
The main target for the 4yo this preparation could be the Group 1 Sydney Cup on April 13, 2024 at Randwick over 3200m.
Also returning to the trials was well-known mare Lady Laguna, who was unfortunate to miss out on a spring campaign due to injury. Now fully recovered, she has pleased trainer Annabel Neasham in her training.
“We wanted to have a quiet first trial with her to slowly get her back to her best form. She jumped well and travelled nicely under a hold and we didn’t ask her for much, she still finished third in the trial over 800m. Chad Schofield was on her back and said her action felt good and she did her work comfortably. Great to have her back in the stable.”, said Neasham to owners after the trial.
We look forward to seeing Lady Laguna’s return to the track and to being back to her competitive self.
Both Mark Twain and Lady Laguna are certainly worth to keep in mind for the future as we hopefully see both of them feature in some black-type races later this season.