Historian on weight-for-age path in Brisbane

Historian could be asked for a quick back-up during his Brisbane campaign.

The dual Group One winner will be one of two horses Cambridge trainer Gary Alton will have on the Queensland-bound flight on Thursday with the other stable representative being Rockwell, who made an impressive winning debut at Avondale on Anzac Day.

After a mix-up which resulted in Historian missing a trip to Hong Kong, Alton decided to try his luck in Brisbane. The target is weight-for-age races for the six-year-old who sits on a rating of 104 in New Zealand.

Historian will make his Australian debut in the A$125,000 Gr. 3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (wfa 1600m) at Doomben on March 24 and if he goes well the next opportunity for him is a week later in the A$250,000 Gr. 2 Eagle Farm Cup (wfa 2200m).

“It’s not ideal for him backing up a week later but they’re the only two suitable races for him,” said Alton. “He’s well and fit and if he doesn’t go over there he would have to go out for a spell. It would be just too long to leave him out until the spring.”

Historian has had one start since he finished second to Silent Achiever in the Gr. 1 Lindauer NZ Stakes at Ellerslie on March 8. That latest run was when fifth to Soriano in the Gr. 2 Ezibuy Eulogy Stakes (also wfa 2000m) at Awapuni a month ago.

“He’s done a fair bit of swimming since then and was back on the treadmill this morning,” said Alton. “He’s looking good.”

Alton heads to Brisbane tomorrow and will be on hand to greet Historian and stablemate Rockwell when they arrive on Thursday.

“We’ll be based out at Nudgee,” said Alton. “That’s where Donna Logan has her horses and so does Wheels (John Wheeler). It sounds an ideal set-up and (trainer) Liam Birchley has got a treadmill like ours that I can use.”

James McDonald, the Kiwi star of the Sydney Autumn Carnival, has been offered the ride on Historian and Alton is awaiting confirmation. McDonald should also be keen to ride Rockwell, especially after watching a replay of his Avondale performance.

Rockwell was quickly in front for rider Opie Bosson and streaked away in the home straight to win by four and a half lengths over 1200 metres.

Alton wasn’t surprised by the performance after his sole trials effort for second at Cambridge last month.

“He went a nice trial and the form around him stacks up well,” said Alton. “Fussy Hussy, who won the trial, was second at Tauranga fresh-up and the third horse, Billy’O has won both his starts. Rockwell wasn’t pushed at all in the trial.”

Rockwell has a colourful history and has returned to Bruce and Maureen Harvey, who originally bought him as a weanling from the 2010 Magic Millions sale for A$165,000. He then went through the 2011 NZ Bloodstock Premier Sale at Karaka and was purchased for $300,00 by the Hong Kong Jockey Club for its sale.

The well-bred colt was later offered at the 2012 International Sale in Hong Kong and fetched a record-breaking price of HK$9 million ($1.4 million).

“He did a tendon over there and never got to the races so he was sent back here and Bruce and Maureen decided to try him,” said Alton. “Watching him work early on, he didn’t look to be showing much, but Catherine (Alton’s partner Catherine Cameron) always liked him and said he had gears. He showed that at Avondale.”

Alton has no big plans for Rockwell in Brisbane. “He hasn’t won enough to get in the better races so we’ll look at a midweek race somewhere and take it from there. He’s got to get his ratings up a bit and if he does he could run in something a bit bigger at the end of the carnival.”

Biologist is another horse Alton is considering for Brisbane. “He’s in on Saturday and he’s got to step up,” said Alton. “If he goes well he could go over in a month or so. He’ll have to go via Sydney and float up as Thursday is the only direct flight.”