Mission Hill has had the better of his barn-mate Vin De Dance in two previous meetings, but the stable isn’t reading too much into that just yet.
The three-year-olds will square off again in Saturday’s Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie and co-trainer Andrew Forsman said there is little between the pair.
“It’s been a case of Mission Hill being a bit sharper at the shorter trips, he’s been ready for a while.”
The son of Teofilo, who has drawn 20 at Ellerslie, is unbeaten this preparation following wins at Pukekohe and Te Rapa with Vin De Dance finishing fourth and sixth behind him.
“Vin De Dance is still on the way up, we’re really happy with both horses,” said Forsman, who trains at Cambridge with Murray Baker.
Danielle Johnson will replace Opie Bosson, who will be in Melbourne to ride Embellish in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington, on Mission Hill while Jason Waddell has been booked to partner Vin De Dance.
Decisions on riders for the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) have yet to be confirmed.
Mission Hills’ winning form has propelled him to equal $7 second favouritism with Mongolianconqueror for the Ellerslie classic behind the $3.50 market leader Scott Base. Vin De Dance is rated a $14 prospect.
Meanwhile, last-start Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) winner Lizzie L’Amour will defend her Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) crown at Ellerslie on March 10 at her next appearance.
“She’s come through Te Rapa really well, as did Nicoletta,” Forsman said.
Nicoletta was a game third in the Herbie Dyke and a decision has yet to be made whether she tackles the New Zealand Stakes as well