Pukekohe trainer Nigel Tiley is currently testing the waters in Victoria with promising stayer Megablast ahead of a potential Australian spring campaign for the grey gelding.
The Shinko King five-year-old finsished finished a close second at Mooney Valley on Saturday.
“We’ve come here (Melbourne) because we’re seriously considering bringing him back in the spring and we just wanted to bring him over and see where he sat class-wise and see how he handles the different tracks,” Tiley said.
“He handled Moonee Valley very well, so Flemington will be right up his alley I think.”
It won’t take long for Tiley to test his theory with Megablast lining up at Flemington on Saturday. It will be his final run before flying back to New Zealand in preparation for the spring.
“He’s come through Saturday’s race very well. He has eaten everything we have put in front of him since,” Tiley said.
“He’s going to back up at Flemington over 2500m and hopefully we’ll get a bit of rain on the day to just take a bit of the fire out of the track for him.
“The track (at Moonee Valley) was just a bit too firm for him. He doesn’t have that explosive turn of foot when the track is a bit better.”
With Ben Melham on holiday, leading Victorian jockey Beau Mertens will take the ride. He is apprenticed to Mick Kent, whose Cranbourne stable has been Tiley’s base while in Victoria.
“He’s having a battle with Craig Williams at the moment for the premiership, so if we were able to give him a winner that would help him that would be nice,” Tiley said.
A return trip to Melbourne in the spring would likely see Megablast travel via Sydney.
“Tracks get quite hard here (Melbourne) in the spring. It’d be nice to get him to fitness with a little bit of give in the ground. We’d probably look at a race or two in Sydney if we came back.”
Tiley said he is enjoying having a quality horse in his stable which that he can campaign in Australia.
“Normally I get a good horse and it gets sold, so I don’t have too many opportunities to bring a horse like Megablast over.
“I haven’t travelled horses for a while, so it’s good for me to get my eye back in.” – NZ Racing Desk
ABOVE: Nigel Tiley and Ben Melham at Moonee Valley – photo by Darryl Sherer
ABOVE: Megablast – photo by Trish Dunell