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Strong kiwi challenge for Rosehill Guineas in Sydney

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Sydney autumn carnival has become a rite of passage for the leading New Zealand three-year-olds.

New Zealand gallopers make up a third of the 18-horse field for the A$600,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney on Saturday.

The Group I feature has attracted six New Zealand horses, including five of the first six placegetters in this month’s New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie.

The Kiwi contenders are Vin De Dance, Age Of Fire, Mongoliancounqueror, Mission Hill, Endowment and The Lord Mayor, while Mongolian Marshall is first on the ballot.

It is rare for so many New Zealand horses to contest a Group I race in Australia and it is probably the biggest representation since seven New Zealand-trained horses tackled the 1993 Melbourne Cup, a race which had 15 New Zealand-bred runners.

The Rosehill Guineas serves as the principal leadup to A$2 million Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 7.

The Lord Mayor, who races as The Mayor in New Zealand, has been transferred to Sydney trainer Chris Waller for the autumn carnival but the other Kiwi contenders remain New Zealand-trained.

The Te Akau Racing training partnership of Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards produced Gingernuts to win the 2017 Rosehill Guineas and will be represented by Age Of Fire and NZ Derby runner-up Mongolianconqueror on Saturday. Stable jockey Opie Bosson will ride Mongolianconqueror, with Jason Collett on Age Of Fire.

Mission Hill and NZ Derby winner Vin De Dance will represent Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman and the Cambridge stable would have three runners if Mongolian Marshal gets a start. Jason Waddell has retained the mount on Vin De Dance, with Damian Lane on Mission Hill.

Lane, who is based in Melbourne, has won three group races from a handful of rides for Baker and Forsman, including the 2017 Australian Derby on Jon Snow.

Damien Oliver will partner Endowment who finished a creditable fifth, from a wide barrier, in the NZ Derby for trainers Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs. Endowment has another wide barrier to overcome on Saturday and Mongolianconqueror will start from the outside barrier.

Vin De Dance is the most favoured of the Kiwi contenders and was on the fourth line, at $9, in final field betting on Wednesday, with Mongolian Marshal at $11 and Mission Hill at $14. Victorian Derby winner Ace High was a $4.20 favourite ahead of D’Argento and Cliff’s Edge.

The Rosehill track was rated as a slow 6 on Wednesday morning, with more rain forecast.

New Zealand three-year-olds have had an outstanding record at the Sydney carnival in recent years. New Zealand-trained horses have won the Rosehill Guineas in four of the past seven years and won the Australian Derby four times in the last five years.

There has been a similar pattern in the Australian Oaks, with New Zealand-trained fillies winning three of the past four contests.

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