The Matamata training combination of Graham Richardson and Gavin Parker will take a select team of four horses to Te Rapa on Saturday, with all rated solid chances.
Paisley Park has looked good winning both of his starts to date and has duly been installed a $2.80 favourite with the TAB for the opening race, the Legends Day - Feb 9th - Hospo Packages Live Now (1500m).
“He’s got a lot to learn and there is a lot of improvement in him,” Richardson said.
“He’s definitely going to be a better horse in the autumn, hence we have taken our time with him and we want to give him every opportunity to get to a higher level.”
Richardson believes the four-year-old son of Azamour will likely get over further ground as he matures.
“He does a little bit wrong and he was working a bit fiercely,” he said.
“We decided that the best way to cure that in his work was to sit off the pace about five lengths off another horse, pick it up and get him to relax, so he is still learning in that aspect.
“He should run well on Saturday, but we don’t want to see him over-racing.”
Richardson also has a lot of time for three-year-old filly Stilton, who steps up to a mile as she attempts to clear maiden ranks.
“Stilton is a really nice horse,” Richardson said. “She is another that is still learning. I just wish there had been a maiden three-year-old mile race around, but there is not, so she will run against the older horses.
“I feel she is a filly with a big future.”
Lightly-tried three-year-olds Sponge Bob and Angelica will step out over 1400m for the training duo.
“Sponge Bob’s run at Rotorua was really good,” Richardson said. “It was encouraging as he got back and ran home well. He’s another horse that will be better in the autumn too.
“I have put a set of blinkers on Angelica for the first time. She is a pretty casual type of filly but has woken-up in her work with the blinkers on, so she is a good chance.”
Meanwhile, Richardson is looking forward to Volpe Veloce defending her title in the Gr.1
Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
The five-year-old mare stretched her legs in an exhibition gallop on her home track at Matamata on Wednesday.
“She went a minute for the 1000m and 34.8 for the last 600m doing it easily, so it was very good work,” Richardson said.
“She is definitely a stronger horse this year and I am very happy with her.” – NZ Racing Desk