Racing: Australian stable buys favoured runner
4:00AM Wednesday Feb 25, 2009
By Mike Dillon
Easy Ryder, one of the favourites for Saturday's $2.2 million Telecom New Zealand Derby, was yesterday sold to David Hayes' Australian stable for huge money.
The last-start winner of the Waikato Guineas, will run in the Derby under his new ownership and Australian jockey Steven Arnold will be flown in to replace Matt Cameron for the classic.
Owner Jenny Grieve has retained a 25 per cent interest in Easy Ryder.
Grieve was at Ellerslie yesterday morning to watch Easy Ryder gallop at the Breakfast With The Stars with Matt Cameron in the saddle.
"The offer to buy him has been on the table for three weeks since the Guineas, but I didn't do anything about it because I'm in love with the horse - then I woke up," said Grieve.
"I couldn't afford to turn the offer down. I have the mother and a King's Chapel out of the mare."
Co-trainer Roger James said he was extremely disappointed to lose Easy Ryder.
"I think he's potentially a Melbourne Cup-type horse and he's a year away from his best yet.
"I can understand an owner's desire to sell for big money and I'm not here to stand in the way of that."
It was a very fit looking Easy Ryder that showed up at Ellerslie.
He looked none the worse for missing the Championship Stakes lead-up race when he galloped with stablemate Katie's Dan.
Both finished off strongly, running the last 600m without being tested in 36.33 secs.
Easy Ryder looked as though the gallop and the trip from Cambridge and back would have him at perfect pitch for Saturday's classic.
"The hock issue he had on the eve of the Championship Stakes was minor," said Roger James.
"I was very pleased with this morning's work."