Cambridge trainer Chris Wood concedes he has set a tough assignment for Pacorus and Roc De Bank in Saturday's open sprint at Te Rapa, but said both are ready to put their best foot forward.
The Wood pair take on a strong field in the Foster Maintain 1400, with a couple of Group One performers and other stakes winners among the opposition, but it's a race that fits well with their programmes.
"They are both going well," Wood said.
"For Pacorus, I'd rather him be running over a mile, but the only mile for him was at Ruakaka next weekend and he'd be outpaced on the better track there.
"This is a good opportunity to get some more mileage under his belt to get him to the Kiwifruit Cup at Tauranga in a couple of weeks.
"He'll probably be outpaced as it stands, but if there was more rain he'd be better suited and could well give them a decent race."
Pacorus resumed with a bold third placing over 1400m at Te Rapa last month behind Saturday's rivals Southern Icon and Mighty Solomon and though he has yet to win over a distance shorter than 1600m, he relishes winter going, winning the Gr.3 Rotorua Cup (2200m) and the Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) on heavy tracks last season.
Roc De Bank will carry the 54kg minimum on Saturday, though has lightweight claims after a comfortable 2 1/4-length Rating 75 win at Te Rapa last month, his sixth win from 25 starts.
"I'm really happy with him. I thought the track might have been a bit wet for him last time but he's a pretty good horse," Wood said.
"He's a lot stronger this year and I'd like to think he's pretty well up to this." – NZ Racing Desk.