Pukekohe trainer Jim Hatton might have unearthed a filly to provide him with a first stakes win.
Hatton produced Jimmy Choux two-year-old filly Choux A Star for an eye-catching debut second to the highly-regarded Botti at Pukekohe last month and another bold performance in Saturday's Majestic Horse Floats 1200 at Te Rapa could earn her a shot at this month's Listed Courtesy Ford Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Awapuni.
"If they timed their last 400m from Pukekohe, you'd probably find she went quicker than (Botti) that day," Hatton said.
"She went into that race without a trial and it was more like a trial for her because they didn't go very hard. It was set up for the winner the way it was run. If she goes all right in this one, I might take her down for the Ryder.
"I've always thought she was pretty smart. She's always surprised me how much she keeps improving. She goes pretty good."
Hatton secured Choux A Star for $1000 from the festival session of the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sales at Karaka last year and races her with Glen Horan and John Blackwood, mates of his son-in-law.
"She was one of the last lots to go through the sale and I hadn't bought a horse but I did like her on type too," Hatton said.
He was impressed by the filly's early development from jumpouts at Pukekohe but she had gone shin sore in earlier preparations.
With a trouble-free preparation this time in, Hatton is expecting Choux A Star to again shine this weekend.
"If she goes anything like she did last start, she's going to take a whole lot of beating. She's improved a lot with that run because she hadn't done anything much going in," he said.
"First-time left-handed and at a different track, it's a bit unknown and they will go quicker this time, but she's galloping enormous. She gallops better than He's Cavalier. She's not a big filly so she doesn't take a lot of work but what she does, she does with a fair bit of speed."
Five-win stablemate He's Cavalier will accompany Choux A Star to Te Rapa for the J Swap Contractors 1600, having finished fourth in his last two starts at Ruakaka.
"He just went a bit hard in front last time. I didn't really want to drop him back to 1400m but there was no other suitable race and I just think if he'd gone a little bit easier, he would have been more competitive," Hatton said.
"He's better over 1600m, he handles heavy tracks and he's trained on well. He never changes - he's as tough as nails - and he'll give a good account of himself again."
Safely through this weekend's race and provided he rounds out his race well, He's Cavalier could step up to 2100m in the open handicap at Ruakaka seven days later, with Hatton keen to give the Castledale six-year-old his opportunity at a middle distance. - NZ Racing Desk