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O'Sullivan and Scott pair push Guineas claims
15 Sep 2016

Two three-year-olds from the Matamata stable of Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott pushed their New Zealand 2000 Guineas claims with convincing performances against older horses at Te Rapa this afternoon.

Smart Missile colt Cha Siu Bao scored a dominant win by three and a half lengths in the Yardhouse Bar Maiden, then the highly rated Sweet Leader picked up his second win from three career starts in the Riv Bar & Bistro 1400 at Rating 65 level.

“They’re both going in the right direction,” Scott said. “They’re performing in a manner that suggests they can carry on towards races like the 2000 Guineas. That’s the really pleasing thing about today.”

Sweet Leader had already made a big impression with his maiden win at Taupo, roaring home from off the pace to win over 1000 metres. But today the O’Reilly colt added a different dimension to his running style, racing handy to the pace throughout the 1400-metre contest and taking the lead a long way from home.

Despite racing greenly in the final stages he asserted his superiority, comfortably holding out a fast-finishing Preetha Varma. Sweet Leader clocked 35.13 seconds for his last 600.

“It wasn’t really the plan to lead today, but it showed he has another string to his bow,” Scott said. “They left the gate open for him to lead, and Gryllsy (Craig Grylls, jockey) did a great job to get him through along the inside and give him a soft lead.

“He’s a colt who’s starting to do things a bit more professionally and he’s coming along, although he still did a few things wrong in the straight today. He’s run home in a quick last 600, and he was the last horse to pull up. That’s good to see and gives us confidence stepping up over a longer distance.

“He beat a lot of older horses who know their way around. It shows that he’s a horse with a fair bit of ability.”

Today’s win saw Sweet Leader move in from $10 to $8 in the TAB’s fixed-odds market for the New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 5. He is the third favourite behind last Saturday’s Northland Breeders’ Stakes winner Heroic Valour ($5) and recent Hawke’s Bay winner Ugo Foscolo ($6). Cha Siu Bao is also prominent in the Guineas market at $26.

“We’ll sit down with Lance and work out a plan,” Scott said. “Hopefully we can get them to Christchurch.”

Richard Edmunds

The Informant