Michael Rodd confimed for Gold Trail
Jockey Michael Rodd will reunite with Sydney sprinter Gold Trail in his bid to plunder Saturday’s $NZ1 million Telegraph Handicap in New Zealand.
The Gary Portelli-trained speedster will be chasing his second consecutive Group One victory across the Tasman after leading throughout to claim the Railway Stakes (1200m) on January 1 with Rodd aboard.
There had been some confusion over whether Rodd would be able to make the trip to Wellington to partner Gold Trail, who races as A Gold Trail in New Zealand.
However, Portelli confirmed the hoop had been booked for Saturday’s showpiece.
"He’s definitely on. We had to make sure about Michael’s flights but he’s landing in New Zealand at 1pm and the race is at 5pm so he will be fine," Portelli said.
"He knows the track, he knows the horse now so hopefully the horse will turn up and do his best over 1200 metres again."
Portelli made a flying visit to New Zealand last week to watch Gold Trail work and he was happy with what he saw.
He believed the five-year-old, who had not won beyond 1100 metres before his Railway victory, had improved from that run.
"I’m much happier with his appearance," Portelli said.
"The other day he was a bit light and the colour in his coat was off a bit, it wasn’t dramatic but it wasn’t the way I normally have him looking.
"He is spot on now."
Gold Trail is one of 19 nominations for the Telegraph Handicap along with fellow Australian Keano trained by Danny O’Brien.
By Mandy Cottell