Aussies continue countdown to IRT New Zealand Cup

By Adam Hamilton

The two key Aussie hopes for next month’s New Zealand Cup step-out on Saturday night.

Decorated Grand Circuit performer Spirit Of St Louis steps into elite company in the $300,000 Group 1 Victoria Cup at Melton.

His rivals include the likes of Leap To Fame, Catch A Wave, Honolua Bay, Rock N Roll Doo, Encipher and Better Eclipse.

Co-trainer Luke McCarthy has openly declared the stable’s intent to focus on the New Zealand Cup after this week’s feature.

In an interesting move, Swayzee returns to racing for trainer Jason Grimson in the $30,000 Les Chant free-for-all (2300m) against moderate company at Menangle on the same night.

It’s a clear pointer Grimson’s prime focus is going one better in the NZ Cup than he did with Majestic Cruiser last year.

Swayzee hasn’t raced since upstaging Leap To Fame in his own backyard in the Group 1 Blacks A Fake at Menangle on July 22.

It was sixth win from as many starts since joining Grimson’s Menangle stable.

In the moments after the Blacks A Fake win, Grimson said: “The New Zealand Cup is the target … that’s the next big one.

“It actually was before this because he’s such a great stayer this horse. He’s actually not that fast, but he can just keep rolling along.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do before then or even if we’ll come back here (Brisbane) for the Inter Dominion, but we’re going back to NZ.”

Grimson’s Victoria Cup hopes will sit with his latest “find” Hi Manameisjeff, who made it four wins from as many starts for the stable when he scored easily at Menangle last Saturday night.

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