New Zealand 2000 Guineas favourite Te Akau Shark (Rip Van Winkle) has been given the green light to head to Christchurch for the November 11 classic.
The son of Rip Van Winkle has been a highly impressive winner of both starts to date, beating the likes of Gr. 2 Sarten Memorial winner Sumstreetsumwhere in the process.
The TAB made Te Akau Shark the clear-cut 2000 Guineas favourite at $6 following a spectacular last-start win at his home track of Matamata, but trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards resisted the hype and took 10 days to monitor the chestnut’s progress before committing to the trip south.
“We’ve made our decision now – at this stage, providing we’re happy with him between now and then, he’ll go down to Christchurch and run in the Guineas,” Autridge told www.theinformant.co.nz this afternoon.
“He doesn’t need another run between now and then, the Guineas will be his next start.”
Te Akau Shark could be joined by multiple stablemates in the $500,000 Al Basti Equiworld-sponsored feature, with $8 second favourite Embellish set to have his final lead-up run at Trentham on Saturday. Age Of Fire, third behind the 1000 Guineas favourite Prom Queen at Ashburton last weekend, is rated an $18 chance.