Injury-plagued mare Hayley Maree provides the class factor at Wingatui on Thursday, but trainer Kelvin Tyler believes her stablemate at the foot of the handicap may be his best hope.
“The Czar is probably the better chance at the weights, he’s really improved,” the Riverton horseman said.
Hayley Maree will have to give former North Island-trained galloper The Czar seven kilos in The Wingatui Function Centre Handicap (1500m).
“She’s in foal to Highly Recommended so hopefully that might work the oracle with her, she hasn’t been letting down in her last few starts,” Tyler said.
Injuries have restricted Hayley Maree to 18 career starts with the seven-year-old having won five of them.
Her quality, however, is best illustrated by a two-start northern campaign in 2015 when she ran fourth in both the Group 1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) and the Group 2 Manawatu Challenge Stakes (1400m).
She finished just over a length off the winner Julinsky Prince at Trentham and in the latter event at Awapuni she was beaten less than two and a-half lengths by Kawi.
“Unfortunately, she’s had a lot of soundness issues but she seems good at the moment. You can only really tell though when the pressure goes on,” Tyler said.
“The White Robe Lodge on Saturday week is her target and hopefully we can get a bit more black type for her.”
Hayley Maree hasn’t raced since she finished third at Gore in the spring, while The Czar was a last-start second at Omakau earlier this month.
“I’m just hoping there’s a bit of cut in the ground for both of them, the tracks have been too hard,” Tyler said.