Chosen chance to follow Phantom's Cox Plate path

4 min read
Plans are afoot for the Dennis brothers to target the G1 Cox Plate with The Chosen One (NZ), 26 years after The Phantom Chance's victory in the race.

Ambitious spring plans are in-play for promising New Zealand 3-year-old The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel), centred around a likely shot at the G1 Cox Plate after his win in the G3 Frank Packer Plate on Saturday.

Owner Tony Dennis and jockey Blake Shinn confirmed that The Chosen One, trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, is destined for the paddock before being aimed at the major Melbourne spring riches after his impressive win at Randwick last Saturday.

Shinn was impressed with The Chosen One's ability to improve significantly off his unlucky fourth in the G1 AJC Derby earlier this month to win with authority having sustained a long run

"It’s been a good carnival, to end it on Saturday on a winning note, especially on a horse that I feel has got the potential to go to some very lofty heights, in The Chosen One, he's a beautiful horse," Shinn told Sky Racing Radio on Monday.

"It was a bit disappointing not to take out the AJC Derby, we were a victim of a wide barrier and having to go back and overcome a slow pace," he said.

"We atoned on Saturday and got the victory for his connections and I think he established himself as a horse of the future."

The Chosen One

"I love the way he can sustain a long gallop from the 700m and keep picking them up. He feels to me like he could develop into a cups horse, even a Cox Plate horse. That might seem a bit ambitious at the moment, but I think he's got a really, really bright future and with Murray Baker, he's in the right camp."

Another chance at a Cox Plate

Dennis and his brothers Ray, Kevin (Joe) and Martin know a thing or two about Cox Plate winners, having bred the winner of the 1993 edition of the race, The Phantom Chance (NZ) (Noble Bijou {USA}).

The Chosen One is the first of two foals from their mare The Glitzy One (Flying Spur), who was stakes-placed herself and won eight races. She is in turn out of The Jewel (NZ) (O'Reilly {NZ}), who was a dual Group 1 winner, who produced the five-time stakes-winner The Diamond One (Tale Of The Cat {USA}).

Dennis confirmed The Chosen One would return home for a break before being aimed at Melbourne's spring features.

Jockey Blake Shinn

"He’s a pretty exciting prospect as we think he will only get better as he matures so it’s a good time for him to have a break now,” he told the NZ Racing Desk.

“I believe the plan is to get him to Melbourne next spring so he might not be seen here if the tracks are no good as Murray and Andrew will take him straight over there."

“He looks like a 2000-2400m type so there are plenty of opportunities there for him.”

Home on the farm

While his three brothers were at Randwick to watch The Chosen One, Tony opted to remain at home with a burst of good weather providing a window for him to get some work done on his Southland farm.

“Most of them went over on Thursday but I wanted to get the baleage done,” he said. “I had intended to go and was looking at flights on Friday but in the end, I stayed back home."

“I went to the local meeting at Riverton instead and saw the race on television there."

“We were pretty confident he could win given the way he went in the Australian Derby when he ran fourth. We thought he backs up pretty well in his races so as long as he got some luck, he would be hard to beat."

“He was very impressive as he sprinted from the 600m and won pretty comfortably in the end.”

The Chosen One

Dennis said he and his brothers have reduced their racing interests in recent years, with four mares at home and another four on other farms. He said they are selling more than they are retaining at the moment.

“We’ve dropped our numbers a fair bit of late as it’s a pretty expensive game to be in when the returns don’t stack up,” he said.

“We have four mares on the farm with another four up north so it’s not as if we have quit or anything but we’re selling a few more these days and not racing as many as we used to."

“You have to be able to sell to make ends meet and at the moment, the racing returns just don’t stack up.”

The Dennis brothers, who own The Chosen One with a big syndicate of others, will offer a colt by Ghibellines (Lot 41) at the upcoming NZB South Island Yearling Sale at Christchurch on April 29 through White Robe Lodge.