Minstrel has arrived safely in Sydney after navigating the restrictions around COVID-19 with a flight from Perth to Melbourne on Monday night and with CHT on the Mega Ark II to Sydney on Tuesday Night after spending a relaxing day at the CHT Victorian farm Barengarra. Minstrel is no stranger to CHT or COVID-19 restrictions after his arrival from NZ in September 2020 he also had to negotiate Covid when we moved him across the Nullarbor from Melbourne to WA.
Interestingly Minstrel knocked off Magnificent Storm, whom we also moved and covered here just a couple of posts ago.
Former Kiwi pacer Minstrel emerged as a serious Chariots Of Fire wildcard when ended the unbeaten WA streak of Magnificent Storm in last Friday night’s Group 1 Golden Nugget at Gloucester Park.
Co-trainer Greg Bond declared him “up with the very best we’ve trained” and notified Club Menangle he wanted to accept the automatic invite to the Chariots which comes with a Nugget win.
The issue will now be the logistics of getting from Perth to Sydney in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions.
“They’ve said he needs to be there by Wednesday because the retention barns comes into play from Thursday. There’s some hope of a flight Monday otherwise Tuesday is our last chance,” Bond said.
Remarkably, Minstrel’s win gave veteran driver Colin Brown his first win in state’s biggest 4YO feature.
Even Team Bond has found it a hard race to win with Minstrel just their second Nugget winner after Ana Malak scored two years back.
Minstrel, sent out an $11 shot, was one of four Team Bond runners and certainly deserved the win after making a midrace move and having to sit parked when, strangely, outsider Power And Grace held the front before finishing tailed-off.
Minstrel was sold to Australia in January after winning four from 10 in New Zealand while trained by David and Catherine Butt at Woodend.
It was a mighty win by Minstrel and adding further to it was the fact he smashed the race record with his 1min54.7sec mile rate for the long 2536m taking a full second off the record set by Beaudiene Boaz back in 2015.
“We really think he’s right up with the best horses we’ve ever had and he proved that tonight the way he won,” Greg Bond said.
Magnificent Storm, chasing his 13th win from as many starts in WA, drew the outside and drifted back to last, but was suited when the leaders blazed throughout a very slick 65.8sec lead time. He was beaten on his merits, but lost no admirers.
Driver Aldo Cortopassi made a three-wide move without cover around the field from the 1300m and loomed strongly alongside Minstrel rounding the final bend, but couldn’t sustain the run and missed by a metre.
Team Bond also snared third spot with last season’s WA Derby winner Patronus Star, who did some work early then had the trail on Minstrel and every chance from there.