Quiz Kid will be looking to continue his great association with Awapuni on Saturday when he lines-up in the Group 3 Boehringer Ingelheim Metric Mile (1600m).
The five-year-old gelding has had three starts at the Palmerston North venue for a win and two placings, including runner-up results in the Listed ANZAC Mile (1600m) and Listed Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m) earlier this year.
He will be met by Heavy10 track conditions on Saturday, but Shaun Phelan, who trains the gelding in partnership with his father Craig, believes they will suit his charge, with a small caveat.
“Just as long as it is loose,” he said. “When he went down to the Winter Cup (Group 3, 1600m, at Riccarton last month) it was just too sticky and he probably had enough.
“He likes Awapuni and a nice, loose, heavy track will suit him.”
The Phelans have also picked up the services of last season’s premiership-winning jockey Danielle Johnson after her initial mount, the Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie-trained Siracusa, was scratched.
“We were hoping to pick up a rider and luckily Danielle’s one has been scratched,” Phelan said.
“He is a strong horse so we wanted to have a decent crack at the Group Three with a good rider.”
While Johnson has yet to ride Quiz Kid on raceday, she was able to get a feel for the horse when riding him at the Cambridge trials earlier this week where he won his 1300m heat.
“It was a good hit-out for him and Danielle was pretty impressed by him,” Phelan said.
The son of Iffraaj will carry 53 kilograms, 7.5kg fewer than topweight and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) hopeful Beauden, who also has a liking for the Palmerston North track.
“He is pretty well-weighted,” Phelan said. “He has run two good placings in stakes races at Awapuni and has won one there so as long as he cops the track I think he will be hard to catch.”
Depending on Saturday’s result, Quiz Kid will either head to Hastings on the last day of their spring carnival or wait a day to contest the Group 3 Staphanos Classic (1950m) at Rotorua.
“He is in the Livamol Classic (Group 1, 2040m). If he happened to win we might head to that, or there is the Staphanos at Rotorua,” Phelan said.
Meanwhile, Phelan is looking forward to lining up recent stable addition Tannahill in the Te Akau Racing 1600 at Matamata on Saturday.
The four-year-old gelding was formerly trained by Andrew Campbell who owns him in partnership with a group of his former stable clients, including real estate magnate Tommy Heptinstall.
“We have been lucky enough to get Andrew and Tommy Heptinstall’s horses (after Campbell retired from training),” Phelan said.
“Tannahill is the fun horse for them. He is really happy and Andrew had him ready to win fresh-up.
“We have just ticked him over and he seems pretty well, I am just not so sure about the heavy track.”