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New Zealand Racing News
Tuesday, May 23 2017

Kiwi trainer Evan Rayner allowed his heart to rule his head when he brought Start Wondering to Queensland for the winter carnival and is hoping the decision will be vindicated with a Group One win at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Start Wondering, who made his Brisbane debut finishing a creditable fifth in the Gr.1 Doomben 10,000 earlier this month, will jump from barrier 12 in the Gr.1 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup (1200m).

The original plan for Start Wondering was to miss the Brisbane winter and head to Hong Kong but quarantine restrictions ruled out a trip for the Gr.1 Chairman's Sprint Prize on May 7, the race won last year by Australian champion Chautauqua.

"Getting there was fine but getting him home wasn't so great," Rayner said.

Rayner, 75, is on his second trip to Brisbane in 20 years ago.

He knows it takes an exceptional Kiwi sprinter to take on the Aussies on home turf but is confident Start Wondering could be the one.

"I always question whether to bring New Zealand horses to compete against the Australian sprinters because we don't normally beat them but he deserves his chance," Rayner said.

"I was happy with his run in the 10,000 but he wouldn't quicken in the ground and hopefully Eagle Farm will suit him better.

"I think he was ridden too handy in the 10,000 as he prefers to get back but he's done well since and pulled up great after his gallop at the Gold Coast this week.

"If he runs well on Saturday he'll go to the Stradbroke but he won't run if he gets a ridiculous weight."

Start Wondering established himself as New Zealand's premier sprinter with Group One victories in the Railway Stakes and NRM sprint this year.

The six-year-old has won 10 of his 20 races and has missed a placing only five times during his career which began under Paul Belsham in New Zealand before he crossed the Tasman to join Chris Waller in Sydney.

He won four races for Waller before receiving a three month ban after a bleeding attack and was sent back home.

With Blesham retired, Start Wondering was taken over by Rayner and his co-trainer, daughter JJ and has won three of his seven starts for the stable.

Posted by: AT 06:51 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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