Comply Or Die’s Roxburgh Cup victory on Sunday (January 5) might have been his last race in New Zealand.
Both trainer-driver Ken Barron and the 5-year-old’s syndicate manager/breeder Brian Leonard, said Comply Or Die could compete in Australia for three to four months – or possibly even for good.
“He’s reached his mark here and now there is nowhere for him to run and hide. He might have won nine races, but because none of his wins have been over $15,000 here he is still a maiden (M0) in Australia.
“It makes sense for us to race him over there. It would be silly to keep him here and race against the likes of Terror To Love and Pembrook Benny. He’s at least a year away from that sort of competition,” Barron said.
Leonard agreed saying Comply Or Die would compete in $22,000 maiden heats and then a $50,000 final at Menangle. There were two series of this nature held Tabcorp Park Menangle each season.
Barron said he could possibly travel with the horse but he wouldn’t be staying there. His alternative training options would be either Darren Hancock or Greg Bennett.
“We are still in the early stages of working everything out but that’s the plan after talking to his owners after the race yesterday,” Barron said.
Barron has campaigned Comply or Die the last three years in Central Otago and he’s yet to taste defeat. He also has a one-from-one strike rate at Roxburgh, and Sunday’s victory was his first Roxburgh Cup triumph.
Comply Or Die was the sole back-marker on the 30m handicap and Ken Barron had him at the tail of the field with two laps remaining.
He then asked the Live Or Die gelding to make a move from the rear at the 700m. He followed Canardly Lover and Hamish Hunter into the race, and then on the home turn took the short route along the markers to win by a length and a head from the pace-making favourite, Awesum Teddy (Andrew Armour).
Winner’s time for the 2700m stand: 3:22.9. Mile rate: 2:00.9. Last 800m: 58.7. Last 400m: 29.4.
It was Comply or Die’s ninth win from 34 starts. He’s also placed nine times for $76,395 in stakes.
“I’d say he would have won more than $100,000 if you take into account his three bonus place wins,” Barron added.
“He’s such a good beginner. That will stand him in good stead in Australia. He led them up when Didjamakembolt Bolt won a $30,000 race on Cup Day, and after the Cup Carnival he had notched up the quickest lead time.
“I think his terrific gait speed will take him a long way in Aussie. We are quite excited about him racing over there,” Timaru-based Leonard said.
“Ken always said he would make a nice 5 or 6-year-old. The horse is a credit to him,” he added.
Both Leonard and co-owner Doug Gillespie hail from Timaru, while the two other owners Russell Aitkenhead and Gus Cuthbertson are from Nelson. The Timaru boys bred him.
Comply or Die is the second foal of four, and only winner out of the maiden Caprock mare, Mood Indigo. She was trained by Tony Grayling at Pukekohe.
By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Harness Racing New Zealand)