The Daniel Champion and Kezia Murphy-trained He’s Gold added a ninth win to his tally with victory in the Kurow Cup (1400m) last month and his connections are hoping for a repeat performance in the Reefton Crane & Construction Reefton Cup (1400m) on Wednesday.
Champion is happy with the way his runner has been working since that victory and credits a change in stable location from Ashburton to Riccarton Park last year as a contributing factor to his improved form of late.
“He’s going great,” Champion said. “He’s really hit his straps since he’s been at Riccarton, there’s a bit more variety for him here and it’s a bit easier to get him fitter too.”
The eight-year-old son of My Halo carried 50.5kg to victory in the Kurow Cup and with stable apprentice Gee Saejorhor retaining the ride, he will carry the same weight again after his rider’s four kilogram claim.
“I was really rapt with him (winning at Kurow),” Champion said. “He is a hard horse to ride and he’s not a certainty with an apprentice on. He did pretty well because He’s Gold can pull really hard.
“He’s not really an apprentice horse, but he’s a good worker and did nothing wrong the other day, so we’ve elected to put him on again.
“He’s Gold will take a bit of improvement out of that race and has worked really well since then.”
He’s Gold has drawn the ace barrier and Champion said he is confident with his charge heading into the race, but does hold concerns about him over-racing during the run.
“I’m confident heading into Wednesday,” he said. “Tomm Jones is a good old horse and Scapolo, you can’t take class away from him, but I couldn’t be happier with the horse.
“He’s really underrated. This is the best we’ve had him going into the season, normally we have copped wet tracks with him.
“He’s adaptable too. He doesn’t have to lead, everybody thinks he’s a leader.
“My only concern is if he (Saejorhor) can hold him. He’s a pretty unpredictable sort of horse. One day he can take a sit, the next he just wants to go straight to the front. So he (Saejorhor) is going to have to eat plenty of weet-bix.”
Champion has got black-type aspirations with He’s Gold and is eyeing a tilt at the Listed Speight’s Timaru Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton later this month.
“We’ll just take one race at a time with him,” Champion said. “He’s got better with age. I never thought he’d be an open handicapper, but he’s stepped up this year and surprised us.
“The Timaru Stakes will probably be the next one we’ll go for and we’ll just see how the rest of the season pans out.
“He’s a good, sound horse and loves being in work.” – NZ Racing Desk