Former Kiwi galloper Lucky For All is unbeaten in three Australian starts, including at Caulfield yesterday.
A long friendship with New Zealand breeder Tim Harrison has paid dividends for Bluegrass Bloodstock principal Lenny Russo, whose lightly raced three-year-old Lucky For All recorded his third win from three Australian starts at Caulfield yesterday.
The Tavistock gelding (formerly named Lucky For Some) began his career in New Zealand under the guidance of Roger Lang, where he ran fourth at Thames over 1200 metres back in January.
Australian-based Russo, who has enjoyed considerable success in recent years buying Kiwi staying talent off the track in New Zealand, was alerted to the horse by Te Runga Stud’s Wayne Larsen on Harrison's behalf.
“I’ve been friends with both Tim and Wayne for a number of years now through previous dealings we have had,” Russo said.
“I’ve bought several horses that have been through the systems at Te Runga with a good deal of success, so when Wayne contacted me about this horse I was keen to take a look.
“Once I saw the tapes on his run and looked at his pedigree I was very keen to see if we could buy him and get him over to Australia.
“I’m friendly with Mick Sharkie, who works with Brad Spicer and his syndicates, so we got together and purchased him for a group of Brad’s clients.
“He went to Darren Weir’s stable and hasn’t looked back since.”
A first-up victory at Terang over 1400 metres was followed by a stylish win at Warrnambool over 1700 metres, a race that had Russo believing the horse had untapped potential.
“While I’m not involved in the ownership I have kept an eye on his development and I think Darren and the team could have a very exciting horse on their hands,” he said.
“Dean Yendall rode him at Warrnambool and told me he thought the horse was a potential stakes winner in waiting.
“The way he won at Caufield certainly vindicates that thinking and I think the horse can certainly go on to bigger and better things.
“I believe he was actually supposed to be in Brisbane for a race but missed his flight, however after that win he definitely looms as a real chance in a race like the Queensland Derby next month.”
The win also added another notch to Russo’s belt when it comes to sourcing top-line stayers from New Zealand.
“I’m a firm believer in the class and quality of New Zealand horses and have enjoyed great success in recent years with the purchases we’ve made off the track there,” he said.
“Count Da Vinci, who raced in New Zealand as Faaltline, is a great example. I bought him for a Tasmanian client after he had won just the one race in New Zealand. He went on to win his first five starts in Tasmania before winning the Hobart Cup there.
“He won the Moe Cup in his next campaign and has been a great money-spinner for his connections.
“Savatag and Equilibrium are others I can add to the honours list from our New Zealand purchases, while we bred and race Moss ‘N’ Dale who has won 10 races including the Sale Cup.
“The New Zealand thoroughbred is just so durable and they adapt well to the Australian environment. They race on well as older horses, which also adds greatly to their appeal.
“I do all my work off the tapes of New Zealand racing, and now that we have struck a formula that works well then we will be sticking with it as long as we can.”