A shock announcement from world renown owner Neven Botica has paved the way for the Pryde’s EasiFeed Great Southern Star’s first ever invitee to possibly tackle the event in the second edition of the race.
It may come a year later than many first thought, but the highly credentialed Imperial Count could now target the race after flying to New Zealand to stand at Barra Equine stud.
The North-American squaregaiter, who has amassed almost $700,000 in earnings and has a best lifetime mark of 1.53.2, has been competing against some of the world’s best trotters in recent years. However with Botica keen to get him to the Southern Hemisphere as a breeding proposition; it has opened the door for a Great Southern Star tilt.
“Last year he had a little hiccup at the last minute before he entered quarantine on his way down for the Great Southern Star and because of the horse he was, it didn’t make sense to take a chance with him,” Botica said.
“He came back and in his last start he broke the track record at Yonkers, it was a 1:54 mile rate on an 800-metre track.
“He is going to stand at Barra Equine. He is in quarantine at the minute but he gets out next weekend and I’m thinking while he is only a five-year-old, I should give him a crack at a race like the Great Southern Star.”
With plenty of life still in his legs, Botica will make a final decision in a few weeks however the initial signs are looking positive that the fledgling race could have its first ever international raider from North America.
The next step will be for Imperial Count to come back into work in the Shaky Isles according to Botica.
“He’ll come back into work in New Zealand initially while he covers some mares and he will tell us how he is going,” he said.
“He is by Angus Hall who is the sire of Majestic Son so it is already proven that the line works down here. He has a good high speed gait and he is very versatile which is an added advantage.”
Botica, famous for owning another superstar squaregaiter in Sundons Gift, will also have a runner in the rich Breeders Crown Final of the Open Mares Trot to be run in America on Sunday morning our time.
Beatgoeson Hanover broke the world record at Pocono in late September and will tackle the $250,000 mares trotting feature race at the very same track on Sunday.
In a win for the globalisation of our great sport, SKY Racing, through their SKY 2 platform, will show the majority of the meeting live this weekend.