Showy grey Stratocaster will head into the Gr.3 J Swap Contractors Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on Saturday as one of the favoured runners after his last start winning effort at Ellerslie earlier this month.
The David and Emma-Lee Browne-trained gelding made a winning return to his homeland after a disappointing unplaced run in Melbourne last month.
“The race wasn’t really run to suit him in Australia, it was one of those races that just didn’t go to plan,” Emma-Lee Browne said.
“He travels really well, he got back in great order, so it was good to see him back (in winning form).”
Browne has been happy with how the Mastercraftsman seven-year-old has been working and is looking forward to her charge reuniting with last-start winning jockey, Opie Bosson.
“He’s trained on fairly well and he’ll probably strip a little fitter after having that run. We are really happy with him,” she said.
“It will be good to have Opie Bosson back on after winning last start on him. Barrier four will suit and he’ll be in a position to go wherever he wants depending on the speed. There looks to be plenty of speed in the race, so he should be able to get a nice run from there.”
Browne said there are no set plans for Stratocaster after Saturday, but she would like to head towards the Wellington Cup carnival with the seven-year-old.
“We’ll just run on Saturday and see where we are at as far as distance goes. We’ll hopefully have a go at some of the races over the Christmas carnival leading down to Trentham.”
Meanwhile, the Cambridge trainers will contest the Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) with Group One performer Belle du Nord.
The daughter of Reliable Man pleased her connections with her fresh-up unplaced run in the Listed Levin Stakes (1200m) at Otaki last month and they are hoping that the forecast rain will stay away ahead of Saturday’s race.
“We were really happy with her run in the Levin Stakes, obviously it was quite a leader-biased track that day,” Browne said.
“She got far enough back, but hit the line well and we’re pretty happy with how she is going into Saturday.
“I think that as long as the rain doesn’t turn up the track will suit her a lot better, she does like it firm.”
The four-year-old mare could be in for a big summer, with her next big assignment set for later this month.
“This is just a stepping stone towards mile races over Christmas.” – NZ Racing Desk