It won't be a lack of stamina or conditioning that will have Wise Men Say beaten in Saturday's Irvines McGregor Grant Steeplechase, according to owner-trainer Raymond Connors.
However, the Wanganui farmer admits 4000m around Trentham's figure-eight steeplechase course might be a bit sharp for his jumps star.
"For him it's a case of the wetter, the better. He's not a fast horse but he's got stamina and that's his key edge," Connors said.
"But they might just go a bit quick for him around Wellington. He might need a bit more distance."
Wise Men Say was only warming up at the end of the race when he won last year's Great Northern Steeplechase (6400m) at Ellerslie and while he has won a steeplechase over 3780m, at Wanganui two years ago, the Yamanin Vital gelding is second-up against a strong line-up of proven big-fence jumpers with 70kg on his back.
"He's well and we're happy with him and it doesn't make much difference to us that it's at Trentham and not at Te Rapa,” Connors said.
“He's still got to carry that big weight and it's not a bad field.”
Sea King, The Big Opal, Just Ishi, Zardetto and Thenamesbond will provide Wise Men Say with stern opposition on Saturday, but he showed he was on track for a profitable winter with a tenacious maiden hurdle win at Wanganui last month.
"We thought he'd run all right. Being a maiden, you never know but he ran really well and it's brought him on a lot, though that was a month ago now," Connors said.
"Still, he's probably better with his races spaced, though he will probably go to Awapuni next week and race there next. He's up in the weights now so we have to take what we can get and we're always happy to win any race."
Connors will also produce Our Jackson in the maiden steeplechase at Trentham and Whoshotmymate in the amateur riders' race.
"Our Jackson didn't go a bad steeplechase in his first run over fences this winter and he's kept improving so hopefully he can be thereabouts and Whoshotmymate, hopefully he can go well for Emma Glasglow. He should get through the ground all right." - NZ Racing Desk.