New Zealand Bloodstock graduate Benaud will be after his first Group One scalp when he contests the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The Reliable Man colt won on debut over 1400m at Nowra before running third in the Gr.3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill late last month.
Trainer John O’Shea was pleased with Benaud’s step up to Group company and is looking forward to watch him run on Saturday.
“I couldn’t be happier with him,” O’Shea told RacingHQ. “He made the transition from Nowra to town and had a lovely day out and Hugh (Bowman, jockey) gave him a beautiful ride. That has helped what is going to happen on Saturday.”
Following Saturday the three-year-old gelding is set to head to Victoria, but O’Shea is leaning against starting in the Gr.1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
“There are a lot of things to take into account,” he said. “If he wins on Saturday he is a Group One winning colt so the last thing we would do is run him in a VRC Derby.
“We will discuss it with the ownership group but my view is that he will be a much better horse in the autumn and over a mile and a half.
“Win, lose, or draw (on Saturday) I am keen to give him a look over The Valley over 10 furlongs in The Vase (Gr.2, 2040m).
“That is more about the experience of giving him a trip away, it wouldn’t be an arduous race, it is a very soft and forgiving surface.
“It would be plenty of merit in doing that but whether we would press onto the Derby would be another thing.”
Out of prolific producer Baggy Green, Benaud is a half-brother to multiple Group One winner Tofane and Group Three performer No Compromise.
O’Shea purchased Benaud out of Valachi Downs’ 2020 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $280,000 in partnership with Laurel Oak Bloodstock.
O’Shea also purchased stablemate Cotehele out of the same draft for $100,000 and the Tavistock colt will take his place in the Gr.2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) on the same card.
“He is a horse that has given us plenty to enjoy so far,” O’Shea said. “We gave him a trip to Brisbane, albeit he drew poorly but on the day we were happy with his run in the Sires (Gr.2, 1400m).
“There has been so much form that has been coming out of that race. He is another progressive horse that has really done well as a three-year-old, as you would expect being by Tavistock.
“We think he can give a good account of himself on Saturday.” – NZ Racing Desk
Image: Bradley Photos