Te Aroha trainer Peter Lock is over the moon with how his talented galloper Hiflyer has progressed and is looking forward to lining up the six-year-old in the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings on Saturday.
The Tavistock gelding finished a close runner-up to Melody Belle in the first leg of the Hawke’s Bay triple crown, the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m), earlier this month and Lock believes his charge is suited more to Saturday’s mile distance.
“We’re really happy with him. He has come through his Tarzino run very well,” Lock said.
“I took him to Matamata (last week) and he had a run between races to make sure he was up to the mark. We were very happy with the way he has pulled up and his work has been great.
“It’s just a matter of being right up on the mark for Saturday, because I think that is where we’ll have to be.
“The mile distance is his go. I think if he can get a nice draw, in an ideal world it would be (barrier) 5, 6 or 7, and if that happened we’d be over the moon. We’re just very pleased and honoured to have a horse good enough to be in the race.”
Hiflyer had a brief campaign in Sydney over winter and Lock believes that trip has been the making of the gelding heading into his spring preparation.
“I think he has improved a tonne,” Lock said. “He has really grown up. Unfortunately we only had the 1400m and 1500m (starts), I think if we had seen him run in a mile over there we would have probably seen him win a race.
“It was a learning curve. We took him there to see whether he would settle in the Australian climate. It’s his first trip he has been away, so we decided to give him two runs, we made that plan before we left.
“He did the two runs and came through them extremely well. He came home to compete against New Zealand’s best sprinters over 1400m, which is a hard task to do coming back from Australia and he did it pretty well.
“We are more than happy with the way things have turned out and it would be a fairytale if he can win on Saturday.”
All going to plan Lock will give Hiflyer the chance to test himself over 2000m in his remaining two spring targets, the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings on October 6 and the Gr.1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“He’s had one run over 2000m in the Zabeel Classic and that didn’t pan out our way,” Lock said. “It was a wet track and the back runners never ran on at all.
“I think we would be silly not to try him over 2000m and if it doesn’t work we know to go back over the mile. We know he is very competitive over that distance.
“If it all comes together our big plan is to target the Emirates on the last day of the Melbourne Cup carnival. It’s worth A$2million and a nice slice of that would be very handy.” – NZ Racing Desk