Group performer Beaudz Well will make his first appearance for new trainer Debbie Harris when he heads to New Plymouth on Friday.
The seven-year-old gelding, who is part-owned by All Black Beauden Barrett and Crusaders assistant coach James Marshall, was previously trained by fellow Taranaki trainer John Wheeler.
He was stakes placed on four occasions, including three consecutive runner-up results in the Listed Staphanos Classic (1950m), Listed Metropolitan Trophy (2500m) and Group 3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) in 2021.
The son of Zed hasn’t featured in the money since, and the decision was made earlier this year to change his environment in the hope of turning his form around.
Breeder and part-owner John Lynskey had a good association with Debbie Harris and thought her boutique operation would be the perfect environment for his gelding.
“I used to work for Rob Patterson who trains a lot for John Lynskey. He wanted to try the horse in a different environment and see if he might find a bit of form again before they retire him,” Harris said.
“He is a lovely, laidback horse to have around.”
Harris has been pleased with the way Beaudz Well has been working ahead of his first-up assignment but said the 1400m trip is well short of his best.
“He has been working along really nicely. He has had a few little niggles but hopefully we have got on top of them now,” she said.
“He has been going pretty well at the jump-outs so we are hoping he can carry on that jumpo-out form to the races.
“He is a stayer but you have got to kick-off somewhere.”
While Harris is taking it one race at a time, she said the main aim of the preparation could be the Group 3 Wellington Cup (3200m) if Beaudz Well returns to form.
“We have put in a nomination for the Wellington Cup but we will just play it by ear at this stage,” she said. “We will see what happens and if he does find form again it could be something we potentially look at.”
Stablemate La Santana will also be first-up on Friday, having won her maiden at her last outing in April.
The lightly-raced mare has been given time to mature and is another Harris said will benefit over further ground, but is hopeful of a good showing.
“She is a lovely mare. We turned her out after she won quite nicely last season, she just needed a little bit of time to strengthen up,” Harris said.
“She has come up really well this prep, I am really happy with her. She may need a mile-plus but she has been working well too.”