Despite being unable to secure a flight out of Perth for stable stars Come Play With Me and Massimo this week, trainer Adam Durrant is still planning a raid on Queensland feature races with the pair.
Group 1 winner Come Play With Me was scheduled to tackle the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm this Saturday, whilst Massimo was in line to start in the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) on the same day, but travel plans were aborted after a connecting flight from Perth to Melbourne was no longer available.
Speaking to TABradio’s The Sports Daily, Durrant says the two stablemates are likely to race at Belmont this Saturday before flying east next week.
“We’ll just tread water and Massimo will run in the Belmont Sprint,” Durrant said.
“I’ll probably send Come Play With Me around as well, or trial on Monday race and trial on Monday to get some miles into his legs.
“Hopefully we can get on the bird on Monday and then make our way to Queensland from there.
“Obviously Massimo’s got to run really well and we’ll probably also have the option of Money Matters to maybe take as well after the weekend.
“I think, providing Massimo goes really well, we’ll still have a go at the sprint race because there are actually a couple of races around that sprint race and after it that do suit him.
“Basically, his future is probably on the eastern seaboard anyway, where he’s getting in the ratings, so he was going to have to travel over there anyway.”
Come Play With Me is no stranger to interstate success, having won the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick in 2019 after Durrant transferred his home-bred stayer to champion trainer Chris Waller.
Durrant hopes to follow a similar path this campaign and says he’s likely to leave the Blackfriars six-year-old in Waller’s care again after the Brisbane carnival.
“That’s what the plan will be,” he said.
“We’ll give him those two runs, there’s a couple of options there.
“The Q22 I think they call it now, they’re starting to drop like flies out of that race
“It’s worth 1.4 million and it looks like it’s going to end up a six-horse field.
“I’m not being unrealistic, obviously the favourite is going to be too good for us but it’s $200,000 to run second and good prize money to run third and fourth, so it could be a kick-off point for him.
“I think there’s a 2200-metre race a week later worth $250,000 and things like that.
“There’s just so many more options, whereas here we’ve basically got no races left for him, unfortunately.”
Meanwhile, Durrant is confident Money Matters remains in top order as the four-year-old aims to land consecutive $200,000 Group 2 victories when he lines up in Saturday’s Belmont Sprint (1400m).
The Canford Cliffs gelding caused a boilover when defeating reigning Winterbottom Stakes winner by a nose as a $26 outsider in the Roma Cup (1200m) last start.
“He’s done really well,” Durrant said.
“He’ll have his hard final gallop this morning and he’s done everything spot-on since his last start.
“Obviously he’s a very honest type when he hits his straps, so you can’t imagine he’s going to go backwards.
“It’s just a matter of how far those other horses come forward, but he’s in a good place and doing really well.”
Durrant has no shortage of talented gallopers at the moment, with Vital Equine filly Tri For Us landing her third win from her past four starts at Belmont last Saturday.
Asked if the progressive three-year-old could be a Belmont Guineas (1600m) contender next month, Durrant is more hopeful than confident.
“I’d like to think so, but it’s going to be a tough ask,” he said.
“We’re going in the right direction and hopefully she continues to do that.”
Meanwhile, Durrant will be represented by Treat Yo Self, Mightiness and Drinkwhatyoulike at tomorrow’s Belmont meeting and feels the trio have found suitable assignments.
“All three are in good place and they’re in nice races so I expect all three to fill the top-three placings,” Durrant said.
“They’re no superstars but they’re very honest so I think they’ll run well.”