By Chris Scholtz
Talented Kiwi five-year-old Director has been set for a first-up win in Australia in the $40,000 Moruya Cup on January 22.
Trainer Brian Court is bringing Director to Australia for the Moruya Cup (1660m) before handing over the gelding to leading Canberra trainers Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones.
Joseph and Jones have forged a strong connection with Court with the Kiwi owner-trainer set to become a regular source of lightly-raced prospects for their stable.
Court sold the impressive five-year-old Almost Court to a big syndicate of Joseph Jones Racing's clients last year, with the son of Alamosa rising rapidly through the classes with four wins from his first five starts in Australia.
Almost Court arrived in Australia last winter as a maiden winner from six starts in NZ. With Court retaining a share in the gelding, he reeled off three successive wins for Joseph and Jones at the Sapphire Coast and Canberra twice over distances from 1608m to 1900m.
He was spelled after finishing sixth over 1900m at Canterbury in September before making a super return to racing at Moruya last Monday, jumping classes to win the open company Narooma Cup (1425m) with an impressive front running performance.
Barbara Joseph has mapped out an ambitious program for Almost Court with the gelding set to have his next start in the $50,000 Bega Cup (1600m) at the Sapphire Coast on February 4.
He will then progress to the Canberra Cup Prelude (1600m) on February 23 and hopefully a start in the $200,000 Canberra Cup (2000m) on March 11. The $180,000 Albury Cup (2000m) on March 23 is another possible target.
“Almost Court will go straight to the Bega Cup and miss the Moruya Cup because Brian Court is bringing over Director to run in that race,” Joseph said.
“Director has some excellent form in New Zealand and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do here.
“Brian is bringing another two horses over with Director and they will also be joining our stable.
“There are some others in New Zealand we are looking at and hopefully we can acquire a few more in the near future. It could be a very positive connection for our stable.”
Director, by Per Incanto, has had only 11 starts in NZ for two wins and seven placings.
He won his maiden over 1400m at Riccarton in September and recorded a second win over 1600m at that course on November 11.
At his last start he finished a close third as favourite over 1600m on the New Zealand Cup program at Riccarton on November 18.
Joseph will not be attending this week’s Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast, believing the market will be too rich for her budget.
“We have supported the Magic Millions but it is a very strong market these days," she said. "We will be buying at other sales in Sydney and Melbourne in the next three months."