New Zealand stayer Benzini will have a Group Three tune-up at Ellerslie ahead of his unexpected trip to Hong Kong to take on the world.
Trainers Adrian and Harry Bull accepted a last minute invitation for the Brisbane Cup winner to join a star-studded field in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin on December 11.
The Bulls then decided to run him as a late entry in Saturday’s Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) to give him a hit-out ahead of his flight on Friday with Harry Bull to accompany him to Hong Kong.
“It’s really exciting and it will be a huge experience for Harry. The horse is well too,” Adrian Bull told NZ Racing Desk.
Kelly McCulloch, the elder sister of Benzini’s regular rider Rosie Myers, will fill in for her sibling who had already taken a ride in Saturday’s race.
“The mile will probably be a bit short for him, but with him going to Hong Kong it was a race that fitted in well,” McCulloch said.
Among Benzini’s opponents in Hong Kong will be multiple Group One-winning Irish horse Highland Reel, the winner of last year’s Vase (2400m).