Down the Road to miss AJC Derby
New Zealand Derby runner-up Down The Road’s AJC Australian Derby campaign is over with his second sale to Hong Kong interests.
Down The Road was to have left Matamata today bound for Sydney but instead will soon leave for Hong Kong.
"He’s leaving here today and going into quarantine," co-trainer Ken Kelso said.
Down The Road was sold to Hong Kong owner Derek Wong Siu Ming for an undisclosed sum after he finished fifth in the Avondale Guineas (1600m) in December.
Kelso suggested keeping the horse in New Zealand for the $NZ2.2 million Derby (2400m) on March 1 and in the lead-up to that the Danroad gelding ran second in the Great Northern Guineas (2100m) then won the Group Two Championship Stakes (2100m).
He was just nosed out in the Derby with NSW raider Coniston Bluebird getting the vital nod in on the line.
Wong has on-sold Down The Road but Kelso is unaware to whom and for how much.
"It’s disappointing, because I only found out yesterday morning, the day before he was due to fly to Sydney," Kelso, who trains in partnership with Thomas Russell, said.
"But we were able to keep him in New Zealand for the Derby and we were lucky to do that, so I suppose we can’t be too downcast."
Down The Road won three times from nine starts for Kelso, for $NZ493,000 in stakemoney.
Kelso thought he would have been competitive in the $A1.6 million AJC Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 11 on the strength of his good run in the New Zealand Derby.
He is the second New Zealand defection from the Derby in recent days with Two Thousand Guineas winner Tell A Tale going out for a spell.
He is to be set for a tilt at the Hawke’s Bay triple crown in the spring.
Other New Zealand entries for the Derby are Fears Nothing, Harris Tweed and Old Jock.