Bucket List drives Spirit Of St Louis' NZ Cup trip

by Adam Hamilton

Spirit Of St Louis’s New Zealand Cup raid is driven by the bucket list of his part-owners Summit Bloodstock and Aaron Bain Racing.

The emerging Aussie syndication force has enjoyed a stellar 2023 and wants to add to it with victory NZ’s most iconic pacing race.

Summit Bloodstock and Aaron Bain Racing (ABR) successfully used their slot in the Race by Grins at Cambridge back in April to partner with winner Copy That.

On the same night, they went close to a remarkable double when Spirit Of St Louis, who they part-own and raced in their slot, ran second to Betterzippit in the inaugural Nullarbor at Gloucester Park.

Then came the biggest of the lot.

Forced to make a late change when Cobber was injured, Summit and ABR snapped-up classy mare Encipher for their slot in the world’s richest harness race, the inaugural $2.1mil TAB Eureka at Menangle.

Of course, Encipher stormed home to win.

“When you have the year we’ve had, especially with the Eureka, you start to look at bucket list stuff and a New Zealand Cup is certainly on that list,” Aaron Bain said.

“Even as an Aussie it’s a race we’d all love to win. It’s just got so much history and the race day itself is something else.

“We think we’ve got the right horse to give it a shake in Spirit Of St Louis.

“Then again, he’s probably odds-on to run second again given how many near misses he’s had in some of our biggest races.

“If he’d won 80 per cent of those races, he’d be talked about as one of the greats of our time.”

Spirit Of St Louis’ seconds include two Miracle Miles and a Hunter Cup.

He’s raced 66 times for 28 wins, 19 placings and still banked almost $1.3 million.

Bain is still wondering what might have been with any luck in last Saturday week’s Group 1 Victoria Cup.

“He ran seventh, but looked like a certainty beaten,” he said. “He and Encipher were the two who simply had nowhere to go and were absolutely bolting in the closing stages.”

Spirit Of St Louis will cap his preparation for NZ in a free-for-all at Menangle on Saturday night.

“Then he flies across on November 5,” Bain said. “He’s had a good foundation. He’ll run in the Cup and stay for the NZ free-for-all on the Friday.”

Bain, who also trains a big team of pacers and thoroughbreds in South Australia, won’t be able to make it trackside for the Cup.

“I’d love to, but it’s our Aaron Bain Racing gala ball, just the second time we’ve held it, a couple days after the Cup,” he said.

Bain is also excited about the Steven Reid-trained youngster, Coastal Babe, who Summit Bloodstock and Aaron Bain Racing own.

“She’s won three of her four runs and looks a bit special,” he said. “She was out first foray into buying yearlings in NZ. We paid $NZ65,000 for her and Jamie (Durnberger-Smith, from Summit Bloodstock) had a relationship with Steven Reid so she went to him.”

Summit and ABR recently spread their wings into the US yearling sales market.

“That goes back to the Bucket List stuff I mentioned,” Bain said. “The Little Brown Jug is absolutely on the Bucket List, so we bought varying levels of shares in eight yearlings at the sales a few weeks back with a view to trying to get a Jug winner.”

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