NZ race option for Guineas hope Conqueror

Mathew Toogood
Co-trainer Tom Dabernig believes Conqueror can confirm a trip to NZ via the Sandown Guineas

Three-year-old Conqueror could follow in the footsteps of stablemate Long Leaf and target the Karaka Million 3YO Classic in New Zealand after he contests the Sandown Guineas.

Long Leaf won the million-dollar race over 1600m at Ellerslie in January, two starts after a Sandown Guineas placing and Lindsay Park co-trainer Tom Dabernig said the rich sales-restricted race on January 25 was an option for Conqueror.

The colt will first try to break through for a feature win in Saturday's Group Two Sandown Guineas (1600m)..

A $1 million yearling from the 2018 Karaka sale, Conqueror is by Fastnet Rock out of Group One winner Diademe and has been competitive in feature races against his own age this spring in Melbourne.

After a third in the Group Two Stutt Stakes (1600m) at The Valley three starts ago, Conqueror was sixth in the Group One Caulfield Guineas and fourth in the Group Three Carbine Club Stakes.

Saturday's race will be the seventh of his preparation which began with a big-margin victory in a Pakenham maiden in July.

"We're really happy with him. He keeps performing well," Dabernig said.

"I thought his run in the Guineas was good and his run in the Carbine Club was solid.

"He's certainly well into his preparation but he's got an iron constitution and he's coping with it all very well.

"I would expect him to be competitive for sure."

Dabernig said the New Zealand race was definitely on the agenda.

"He's different to Long Leaf but not dissimilar in that Long Leaf had a good constitution like this horse," Dabernig said.

"I think he's the sort of colt that if he runs well on Saturday could be capable of doing something like that."

The stable has runners in seven of the 10 races at Sandown, including Faatinah who has been freshened for the Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) since his last-start eighth in the Group One Manikato Stakes (1200m) on October 25.

"He's deadly first-up or fresh and we deliberately missed Flemington for this," Dabernig said.

"He won first-up and then drew wide and ran really well in the Moir Stakes for fourth. His last run he tapered off a bit and we've freshened him since.

"In a little bit weaker company, and if he was at his best, he should be right around the mark."