Fresh is best for Gobstopper, who will continue his march toward an autumn feature with another away trip on Saturday.
The well-related son of Tavistock makes his first appearance since his outstanding front-running victory in the Group 3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) in the Listed Gallagher Marton Cup (2100m) at Awapuni.
“My feeling is that he’ll probably need a run, it’s been seven weeks between races, but he’s well and he’ll give them a run for their money,” trainer Andrew Campbell said.
“He’s one of those horses that needs his races spaced, we tried to back him up a couple of times in the past and he was awful.
“He’s clean-winded and this race fits in well to get him ready for the Auckland Cup. He’s looking good.”
The brother to the multiple Hong Kong Group One winner Werther is likely to have his final lead-up run in the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa on February 10.
Highden Park will offer a sister (Lot 48) to Werther and Gobstopper in the Book 1 Sale at Karaka on January 28.
Campbell is also bullish about the chances of stablemate Athletica in Saturday’s Prout Products Pty Premier (1400m).
“He’s running out of his grade to try and get his rating up to make the Karaka 3YO Classic field,” Campbell said.
Athletica won on debut at Awapuni before unplaced runs in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) and the Group 2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial (1400m).
“He got too far back at Hastings and in the Sarten he got shunted wide on the turn and made up ground,” Campbell said.
“His work has been super all week and I think he’ll be a big chance