Waiting game with Sword In Stone

Sword In Stone missed a start in the Vodafone New Zealand Derby, but could be a player in the Queensland Derby.

Trainer Lauren Brennan is playing the waiting game with promising three-year-old Sword In Stone as she contemplates where to next with the Gr.2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) placegetter.

The Redwood gelding is currently under offer for a potential sale to overseas interests which means Brennan’s plans are in limbo until that process has been completed.

“He is under offer and we are just waiting to hear back after completing the vetting process,” she said.

“Obviously if the sale goes through then he will be on his way, but if it doesn’t then we are looking at where to go with him next.

“I think the Queensland Winter carnival is the best option so we will work out a plan on what he has to do to get there from where we are now.”

Should the Brisbane plan become a reality, Brennan is mindful that her charge will need to lift his prizemoney earnings to gain a start in the key three-year-old races on offer.

“We would look to run him in the Rough Habit Plate (Gr.3, 2000m) then the Queensland Derby (Gr.1,2400m), but at the moment he wouldn’t have enough money in the bank to qualify,” she said.

“There are two nice races at Ellerslie coming up so they would be our immediate targets. There is a three-year-old mile on March 30 then the Championship Stakes (Gr.2, 2100m) in April so if he could get a win there it would set him up nicely.”

Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks, Brennan is still coming to terms with the disappointment of Sword In Stone missing a start in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) despite being stakes-placed in his final lead-up run.

“I was gutted he didn’t get into the race and I’m still feeling it now,” she said.

“He was cherry ripe for the race and had drawn perfectly in barrier one. He would probably have enjoyed a lovely, economical run on the fence and I think he would have proved very competitive.

“To be Group Two placed and still only second on the ballot doesn’t seem right as I definitely think he should have made the field.

“We can’t change it now though, so we have to look forward with him.”

NZ Racing Desk