Calculated Gamble for Taranaki Challenge

Emerging Casino Prince stayer English Gambler will tackle New Zealand’s richest special conditions race at New Plymouth this Saturday.

Trainer Lauren Brennan had initially targeted a Rating 65 race on the weekend before receiving a call from Jim Martin who holds a slot in the $100,000 Taranaki Challenge (1400m).

Martin part-owns race sponsor Platinum Homes and he was forced to look for a late replacement in the sweepstake-type race run along the lines of The Everest.  His original pick Cetus was sidelined with an injury last week.

English Gambler (4g Casino Prince – Christmas Day by Zabeel) was a very impressive 10-length maiden winner at Tauranga earlier this month.  “We got a phone call asking whether we would be interested in running,” Brennan said.  “It’s a $100,000 race so we couldn’t really turn it down.”

Brennan reported he had thrived since that win at Tauranga.  “We’ve just kept him ticking over.  He’s hard on himself in his everyday work and doesn’t need a lot of galloping.

“We took him to Te Rapa for a gallop last week and is exactly where he needs to be for this weekend.  He’s got a high-cruising speed and we’re really happy with him.  This race is a great idea.  Hopefully, it continues on because it’s added a lot of interest for this time of year.”

Vinery sold English Gambler for $34,000 at the 2016 Magic Millions National Sale to Singapore trainer Stephen Gray acting for stable client Paul Hickman.  His dam is winning three-quarter-sister to Reset and her latest foal is an All Too Hard filly born in NZ last October.

Casino Prince stands for a $9,900 (inc gst) fee at Vinery and will parade with the Stud’s other 6 stallions this weekend.