Admiral will be at the top of his game when he attempts to prove himself over a middle distance at Wanganui on Saturday.
The Align gelding was unplaced at his only previous attempt beyond a mile in the Listed Jakkalberry Classic (1950m), but an evident lack of pace in the Balance Accountants Open 2040m at Wanganui on Saturday has buoyed connections.
“The owner’s keen and he didn’t think there would be too much speed,” trainer Stephen Ralph said. “I think he can run 2000m, as long as he doesn’t have to work too hard early.”
Last season’s Listed Karaka Classic (1600m) winner heads south in good form, having finished fourth two runs back in the Gr.2 Easter Handicap (1600m) and then won for the sixth time in his career at Rotorua.
“He could have won two or three more with luck,” Ralph said. “He’s a pretty decent horse.”
Stablemate Red Tsunami will also be making the trip for the Wanganui Chronicle 1340m.
“She would have to be the unluckiest horse in the stable,” Ralph said. “She’s due to win.”
Red Tsunami has won three races, and was an eye-catching sixth in the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) in the spring, and last time out she finished sixth at Te Rapa.
“They walked down the back straight and she got into a bad spot,” Ralph said. “She was too wide on the corner, but she still got home well.”
Meanwhile, bold showings are expected at Te Rapa on Sunday from Thenamesbond in the Irvines McGregor Grant Steeplechase (3900m) and Hesalljazz, a starter in the KS Browne Hurdle (3200m).
“They both had a few issues earlier on and didn’t have the lead-up work they needed,” Ralph said.
Thenamesbond was a last-start third in the Waikato Steeplechase (3900m) while Hesalljazz was seventh in the Waikato Hurdles (3200m).
“They are now really improving and we feel they have got good seasons ahead of them,” Ralph said. – NZ Racing Desk.