If Karrakatta Plate conversations are starting to be had, it would come as no surprise if a lot of the talk is centered around trainer Russell Stewart’s top two-year-olds.
The Karrakatta Plate is just two months away, but in the space of seven days, Stewart has flexed his muscle with three highly-promising prospects stamping their claims.
Gold Maker and Earthstorm made their debut at Ascot last Saturday and ran cracking races when second and third respectively behind Golden Vale.
Golden Vale hasn’t been beaten in two starts and is prepared by the ‘king of the babies’ Simon Miller, a four-time winner of the Karrakatta Plate.
As impressive and notable as Gold Maker and Earthstorm were, stable mate Gold Kathleen created her own hype at Bunbury on Saturday and may have gone past them.
Ridden by Michael Poy, Golden Kathleen accelerated from third position and cruised home to be three lengths clear of runner-up This’ll Show Ya.
Golden Kathleen stopped the clock in the Nixon Electrical Plate (1000m) at 1:04.26secs and ran home the final 600m in race fastest 33.77secs.
“Off that win she would have to be my number one seed,” Stewart said on Tabradio.
“To my eye she looked good and then the clock backed it up.
“She put them to the sword and didn’t do it the easiest way around.
‘She broke 33 seconds and did that from the breeze.”
Stewart said adding merit to Golden Kathleen’s win was her attitude and professionalism.
First up, new surroundings, a long float trip from Perth to Bunbury and warm conditions was handled with aplomb by the daughter of Leonardo da Hinchi.
“She’s just bullet proof and so relaxed,” Stewart said.
“She was asleep before I put the saddle on her.
“Then I had to hunt her out of the stall to get her out there.
“She is so laid back and casual and does not care.
“She went down on the float and not a sweat mark on her.
“As soon as I legged Poy (Michael ), she woke up then.”
Golden Kathleen added $43,840 to her prize kitty, giving owners an immediate return after costing just a modest $3,000 as a yearling.
If not for owner Terry Kenyon and breeder Anne Croucher, Stewart’s top Karrakatta Plate chance may have slipped through his grasp.
“It’s a good buy, but I have to give credit to the owner, Terry Kenyon, he found her,” Stewart said.
“I rang Anne Croucher and she said she’s a beautiful filly but has a bit of a bent leg.
“I saw some photos and she was a big, bodied horse.
“I thought we would have a throw at the stumps.
“I said to Terry it was up to you and Terry loved her and went and bought her.”
Following her debut blitz, Stewart said Golden Kathleen had shot to the front as his leading Karrakatta Plate hope.
“Off that win she would have to be my number one seed,” Stewart said.
“Earthstorm is a jet, but does things wrong.
“She’ll have a couple more starts and be bomb proof as well.
“Gold Maker has come up, I thought he was the third of the three.
“But, he put his hand up and went pretty good.”
Stewarts said Golden Kathleen, Earthstorm and Gold Maker will have a few weeks off in the paddock before plotting a path to the Karrakatta Plate.
Gold Maker gave Leonardo da Hinchi an important first win as a sire with his first runner.