Bell hoping for good time with Legend

Saturday’s $25,000 VE Veterinary Services 1150 at Te Awamutu holds a strong interest for Cambridge trainer John Bell.

Bell has acted on the advice of top horseman Paul O’Sullivan in giving Time Legend another chance on the racetrack and the son of Keeper will make his New Zealand debut in the 1150-metre event.

Time Legend was bred in New Zealand, but has done his racing in Melbourne and Hong Kong. He was originally trained in Australia by John Sadler and picked up three wins and two placings from six starts. He won on debut at Bendigo and again two starts later at Cranbourne, then he went to “town” and won the Group Three Red Anchor Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in October 2008.

Time Legend’s other two Australian starts resulted in a third in the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Flemington and five months later he ran sixth at Caulfield. He was then sold to Hong Kong and joined O’Sullivan’s stable in Hong Kong.

Though unsuccessful in eight Hong Kong starts (three sixth placings were the best performances), Time Legend showed O’Sullivan enough to suggest he could be worth another chance on the racetrack in New Zealand.

“He had a few issues over there and the owner, a client of mine, sent him back here,” said Bell. “I just gave him time to settle in and decided to try him again. Paul said he just needed a little bit of give in the ground and to look after him.”

Time Legend encountered dead tracks when racing in Melbourne and for Bell he has handled wetter ground in his two New Zealand trials, both at Paeroa. He was second over 1150 metres on May 25 then finished third, beaten two heads, on heavy ground over the same trip on June 12.

Bell had planned to start Time Legend a few weeks ago, but a stone bruise ruined that idea. “He’s running out of his class on Saturday and the 1150 metres might be a bit short for him, but he’s very well,” said Bell, who has engaged Cambridge jockey Jason Jago to ride the horse.