Colt?s destiny lying in his own hooves
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
BOOM local colt Natural Destiny has been taken off the market and will be a shock starter in a 'match race' with crack Grafton sprinter Starlactic in Saturday's Group Three Healy Stakes over 1200m at Eagle Farm.
Coffs Harbour trainer Gordon Yorke said Natural Destiny's owners rated the Healy Stakes a better option for the three-year-old than yesterday's Listed Pacesetter Stakes at Gosford.
"The owners thought he could win the Pacesetter Stakes and he would have been an even-money favourite but they want to put him to a bigger test," he said.
It was expected Natural Destiny, who drew barrier six for the Pacesetter Stakes, would run at Gosford in preference to the Healy Stakes which attracted only 10 nominations.
"It was a tough decision but he needs to win a Group 3 race like the Healy Stakes if he's going to get into the (Group One) Salinger Stakes in Melbourne in the spring," the trainer said.
"He's only a Class Six horse and won very well first-up at Rosehill.
"If he can win second-up this time then we know we have a serious horse on our hands."
Natural Destiny, the winner of six of his eight starts, was on the verge of being sold for $1 million to a Sydney buyer but his connections decided not to proceed with the sale.
"The owners were very happy with the offer and almost sold him. The next step was to get him vetted but they decided at the last minute to take him off the market," Yorke added.
Natural Destiny also attracted a $1 million offer from a Hong Kong buyer earlier this year which his owners also rejected.
Yorke said Natural Destiny was unlikely to start in next month's Ramornie Handicap at Grafton if he's successful in the Healy Stakes.
"If he wins he'll be set for the spring and if he gets beaten it's up to the owners what to do with him next but I expect he would spell," he said.
"But if he's to be a Sallinger horse than he's got to stand up in this."