HOMELAND races are likely to take preference over a trip to the Shaky Isles with classy youngster Lochinvar Art.
Within minutes of the colt’s victory in tonight’s Bathurst Gold Chalice connections were extended an invitation to contest the New Zealand Harness Jewels in June.
Grateful to have her stable star so highly-regarded, co-trainer Laura Crossland revealed the invitation will be declined.
“At this stage it is 95 per cent he won’t go,” Crossland said. “I got a message about 10 minutes ago saying he was invited, but I don’t think he will be there.
“I’ll have a good discussion with the others, but I’m pretty certain he will just race in Australia.
“It’ll mean missing some of the big races here and also more travel. We’ve got to think of the long term with him as well.”
The choice to bypass a Trans Tasman campaign will see Lochinvar Art aimed at the New South Wales Breeders’ Challenge and Queensland’s Winter Carnival, which includes the Derby.
“He’ll have a break now then get ready for the Breeders’ Challenge in June,” Crossland said. “Then if he is still going well enough we will go up for the Queensland Derby in July.”
Driven by Crossland’s partner David Moran, Lochinvar Art was eased towards the tail of the field from the inside of the second row as Lets Go To Brazil and then Shoobee Doo set the pace.
Sent forward to test the leader from the ‘death seat’ at the bell, Lochinvar Art dashed to the front leaving the back straight before cruising to a 12-and-a-half metre win from defending champion, College Chapel.
Straddie was three metres away third in 1:54.5 over 2260 metres.
Owned by Kevin Gordon, the son of Modern Art extended his record to 10 wins and nine placings from 19 starts for earnings of $236,840.
“Without wanting to sound bad, I thought if he didn’t win this he would never win a Group One,” Crossland said. “As soon as he went over the line I felt so happy for the horse.
“I’m more excited for him than anyone as he deserved it…it was long overdue.”