Two former Kiwis chasing Jewels berths

By Chris Barsby

Just who is in the mix for an Aussie invite for the Jewels?

Following the action from Bathurst last weekend, connections of both Lochinvar Art and Jilliby Nitro won’t pursue a trip across the ditch for the $1.2 million race day at Addington on June 1.

Lochinvar Art finally landed his maiden big race victory when claiming the Gr.1 $100,000 Gold Chalice in a time of 1:54.5 for the 2260m event.

Prepared by Laura Crossland and David Moran, the Modern Art colt will be set for the $150,000 New South Wales Breeders Challenge at Menangle on June 30 followed by a possible tilt at the Gr.1 $100,000 Queensland Derby at Albion Park on July 20.

“I’m pretty sure we will bypass New Zealand and give him a freshen up before getting ready for the Breeders Challenge and then the Queensland Derby all going well,” Crossland said.

“Now that we’ve cracked a Group 1 victory, we’ve got to start planning ahead,” she added.

Exciting freshman Jilliby Nitro justified the huge boom with a race record victory in the Gr.1 $100,000 Gold Crown Final when leading throughout in a time of 1:53.8 for the 1730m feature.

Unbeaten in three starts, the Bettors Delight colt is prepared by Marg Lee.

And with a raft of features coming up, the exciting rookie will stay on home soil.

“We’ve got the Australian Pacing Gold series in Brisbane within the next month while the New South Wales Breeders Challenge and then the Breeders Crown are at the end of the term,” Lee explained.

“He’s a lovely colt with great speed; he’s very good in front but we think he’s just as good off cover.”

But the connections of a pair of Australian-based pacers are keen to have a crack at the Jewels - Duke Of Wellington and Lulu Le Mans.

Both are New Zealand bred.

Leading owner Marv Butterworth is keen to head back to New Zealand this month with his star pacer for a shot at the four-year-old features (Taylor Mile & Messenger) at Alexandra Park before heading south for the Jewels.

Duke Of Wellington is a last start winner of the Gr.2 $50,000 Melton Plate on March 23.

And co-trainers Aaron Goadsby and Mark Jones are hoping to stamp their ticket to the Jewels with the regally bred filly Lulu Le Mans.

“We’re keen as mustard to give it a go,” said Goadsby.

“We’re looking at starting her over here this weekend and then fly to Auckland next week in preparation for the Sires Stakes and then back down to Christchurch for the Jewels.

“It would look silly if she gets an invite after racing in Auckland.”

In four starts to date, Lulu Le Mans scored a first-up victory at Newcastle before being unplaced after making an error while being placed in both the Gr.2 $50,000 Sapling Stakes and Pink Bonnet at Menangle in her next two starts.

“We think quite a bit of her and the efforts in the features at Menangle were very good, the times back that up. I think she would measure very well anywhere we took her.

“We took her to the trials last weekend and I was very pleased with the effort, she keeps improving all the time which is a good sign.

“As I said, she’ll be competitive in anything she contests.”

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