Morning Briefing

New Zealand Latest

Samarkand showcases staying talent

Cambridge-based trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman look to have a smart staying prospect on their hands in Samarkand (Mongolian Khan) after he bolted in at Tauranga on Sunday. The three-year-old managed respectable fourth and fifth places in the Champagne Stakes (Listed, 1600m) and Auckland Futurity Stakes (Listed, 1400m) respectively on his first two starts before finishing second on his first-up outing this spring at Taupo over 1400 metres behind Only In America (Reliable Man). Stepping back up to the 1600-metre trip seemed to suit the gelding as he thrashed the second-placed Doha (Ocean Park) by seven and a quarter lengths with Te Poropiti (Divine Prophet) a further one and a quarter lengths back in third. Samarkand is not nominated for the New Zealand 2000 Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) so is more likely to be seen in the New Zealand Derby (Gr 1, 2400m) held in March next year. “He’s a three-year-old that wants to go 2000 metres now, but there aren’t any options for that until January,” Baker said. “He’ll most likely have a couple more runs in spring but I haven’t decided where he will go next.” 


Browne eyeing return home

Waikato-based trainer David Browne is hoping that he can be heading back home for Christmas after overseeing a handful of his team, who he trains in partnership with his wife Emma-Lee, in Melbourne, including Elephant (Shocking) who won the Sandown Stakes (Gr 3, 1500m) last Saturday. “Elephant has bounced through Saturday really well. It’s probably the best of his runs yet. He was nice and fresh this morning, so we are really happy with him,” he said. “We are looking at the Toorak next, depending how we end up in the weights.” Browne is hoping to be back home next month but it is mainly dependent on securing a spot in the MIQ facility or hoping that the trans-Tasman bubble reopens. “I am just trying to find a way home eventually, but we will figure that out,” Browne said. “I am not too sure when they will open up (more MIQ spots), but hopefully I will be able to get a slot. It’s just the luck of the draw with MIQ. I might be here until after Christmas, but we will see.”