Another Aussie trip on the agenda

Guns At Five had no luck in Australia last year, but Cambridge trainer Chris Wood is keen to try him across the Tasman again.

“I’m trying to plot a path to the Sydney Cup,” said Wood. “He’ll run on Saturday at Tauranga, then I’ll decide where to go with him. The task is to get him race fit over here and just go over for the one run.”

The $A500,000 Sydney Cup (3200m) is at Randwick on April 27 and the likely leadup race for Guns At Five will be the Group II $85,000 Lawnmaster Awapuni Gold Cup (wfa 2000m) at Awapuni on Saturday week.

Also being considering for Guns At Five is a trip down to Riverton for the Listed Carriers Arms Riverton Cup (2147m) on the same day as the Awapuni Gold Cup, though the long haul now seems unlikely.

Wood prepared Guns At Five to win five races, including last year’s Dixon and Dunlop St Leger at Trentham, before the horse headed to Australia where his best placings in six starts was a third over 1600 metres at Moonee Valley and a first-up fifth in the Chairman’s Handicap at Randwick.

Since returning to the Wood stable, Guns At Five has had four starts and struck top form again when stepped up over ground. He was an easy winner of the Affco NZ Ltd Wairoa Cup (2100m) last month, then fought hard to take the Crombie Lockwood Nathans Memorial at Ellerslie.

This weekend Guns At Five will be at Tauranga, where his assignment will be the $40,000 MCL Stuccorite Bay of Plenty Cup (2100m), in which he will be ridden by Matt Cameron, who was aboard in the Ellerslie victory.

“He galloped well (on Tuesday) and he should go well again,” said Wood.

Wood will start Lady Chaparral in the main event, the Group II Windsor Park Stud Japan Trophy, in which she will be ridden by Danielle Johnson.

Lady Chaparral’s biggest win came on the Tauranga track in the 2011 Gr.3 Tauranga Stakes, in which she caused a massive boilover when beating the raging hot favourite Mufhasa. And in that same event last year she was third behind Zennista and Veyron.

She hasn’t won since her defeat of Mufhasa, but has had more than her share of problems. She has had nine starts this season for four placings, including a fourth in the Group I Westbury Stud Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham and a sixth in the Listed Queensland Anniversary Handicap two starts ago.

Lady Chaparral’s last start was in the Group III Westbury Classic at Ellerslie on Auckland Cup day when she beat one home. “The pace was slow and it left her flat-footed,” said Wood.

A daughter of High Chaparral, Lady Chaparral is in her last campaign with her owners, John and Shirley Goodman, looking to put her to stud in the spring.