Little Thief hoping to follow in sibling’s footsteps

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  • March 12, 2024
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By Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Well-related juvenile Little Thief could earn himself a Group One berth following Wednesday’s AKW Farrier Two Year Old (1200m) at Matamata.

The Dundeel colt finished an eye-catching fourth on debut a fortnight ago for trainer John Malcolm, recording the fastest closing sectionals despite being held-up for most of the Matamata straight, finishing an eventual length off Altari.

“We think a bit of the horse, but going into the race he was pretty green, with only one trial to prepare so it was a pretty big ask,” Malcolm said.

“He performed up to expectation, but it would’ve been nice to be out a bit earlier (in the straight).”

Out of Snitzel mare Stolen Gem, Little Thief is a half-brother to multiple Group One-performer To Catch A Thief, who finished third in last year’s Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), a race Malcolm hopes his younger sibling will contest on April 6 at Trentham.

His chances will be further enhanced with a favourable draw of three on Wednesday, with Ryan Elliot engaged to ride.

“If he runs how I think he can, he should be right there on Wednesday. If he wins, we’ll carry onto the Sires’, and if he doesn’t, then we’ll probably put him out for a spell,” he said.

Malcolm operates the Cambridge-based Cheltenham Stables alongside wife and talented show-jumper Rachel, and the pair are renowned for their breaking-in, pre-training and Ready-To-Run Sale preparation.

Little Thief was intended to be among their 10-strong draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Ready To Run Sale last November, however, owners Ashford Lodge Ltd & the Shirley M Trust opted to retain the colt.

“We broke him in, and he was initially meant to go through our Ready To Run draft. The owners decided to keep him, so he went into Graham Richardson’s (co-trainer of To Catch A Thief), and he went sore, and was a bit naughty in there, so he came back to us and we’ve just carried on with him,” Malcolm said.

“He settled in really nicely here and the owners were keen to keep him in the environment he was happiest in.”

Malcolm has a small team in training, while continuing to focus on the early education of his clients’ horses. Among the more recent success stories have been Group One winners Crocetti, Orchestral and Desert Lightning.

“I’ve just got a couple of other racehorses at the moment, another Ready To Run horse that we didn’t end up taking that was meant to trial up recently, but he just went a bit shin-sore, so he’s gone out along with another for the same reason,” he said.

“I’ve also got another filly for one of Peter Williams’ clients that he’s asked us to get up and trial, so we’ll do that with her.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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