Shorter goal for Chocante

Chocante, pictured beating El Pistola in the Ssangyoung Counties Cup.

Chocante, pictured beating El Pistola in the Ssangyoung Counties Cup.

Stephen Marsh believes Chocante is capable of adding a feature mile to his burgeoning record.

The Cambridge trainer has already bagged the Gr.3 Counties Cup over 2100 metres with the lightly-tried stayer, who has since been freshened with a shorter target in mind.

“He’ll kick off again on Breeders’ Stakes Day at Te Aroha in the open 1400 and then we’re going to run him in the Easter Stakes,” said Marsh.

The Gr.2 Manco Easter Stakes (1600m) is at Ellerslie on April 22.

The winner of four of his 10 starts, Chocante may then head further afield later in the year.

“He’s a really progressive horse and the Queensland carnival is certainly on the radar,” said Marsh.

Chocante showed his quality during the spring when he came off a runner-up finish in a Rating 75 event at Trentham to overcome a three-wide run to claim the Counties Cup, in which he beat the subsequent Gr.1 Auckland Cup placegetter El Pistola.

“He’s always looked like a top cups horse in the making,” said Marsh. “He’s very progressive with a very bright future.”

A son of Shocking raced by his breeders Mark Freeman and David Price, Chocante had earlier been tagged for a possible Sydney campaign before a minor leg issue halted those plans.

Following a decent break, the four-year-old showed he was making good progress with a satisfactory hit-out in an open 1000-metre trial at last week’s Matamata trials.

“I’m rapt with him, he’s coming up really well,” said Marsh.

– NZ Racing Desk.