Hastings trainers Guy Lowry and Grant Cullen are hoping to make their mark on Karaka Million day at Ellerslie on Saturday with their promising three-year-olds Wewillrock and The Stoney One.
Fresh from producing Can I Get An Amen to run fourth in the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham last Saturday, the Hawke’s Bay trainers have nominated the pair for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), while Wewillrock is also entered for the Group 3 Cambridge Stud Almanzor Trophy (1200m).
A son of El Roca, Wewillrock has looked smart in his four races to date.
Fourth in his only juvenile start, the NZD$35,000 Karaka purchase beat subsequent Group Three placegetters Sassy Merlot and La Bella Beals on his three-year-old debut at Taupo in October.
He then finished third after getting well back at Rotorua on December 1, before scoring an impressive victory in a Rating 65 event at Te Rapa on December 18.
“He was a bit immature as a two-year-old but he’s got plenty of talent,” Lowry said.
“He’s still maturing and I know he’ll be a serious horse later on. He’s got a lot of improvement left.”
Lowry is leaning towards a start in the Almanzor Trophy with Wewillrock, who hasn’t raced beyond 1215m.
“He will probably run in the Almanzor Trophy over 1200m. He just missed a bit of work after Te Rapa and it is probably safer to run in the 1200m. He is a good horse and he will be competitive in that race and I am just lessening the risk,” he said.
Lowry and Cullen will still have a tilt at the million dollar bounty care of talented Pierro gelding The Stoney One (+1300), a winner two starts back prior to finishing second to One More Time, with that mare a subsequent winner at Awapuni and set to contest the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m) on Saturday.
“He’s going well. I feel like beyond On The Bubbles, he is up with the rest of them on form in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic,” Lowry said.
Meanwhile, Lowry said Can I Get An Amen would have a break following her great Telegraph effort.
Can I Get An Amen started at +4900 but Lowry, who has won the Telegraph with +700 shot Irish Fling and +7900 chance Adventador, thought she was ready for a big race.
“We wouldn’t have put her there if we didn’t think she was ready to go well, and it’s a shame she didn’t get to third for some black-type,” he said.
“A lot of those horses came in off the back of the Railway two weeks ago and it was a second thought for a lot of them, whereas we aimed directly at the race.”
Can I Get An Amen is likely to be targeted at the Listed Power Turf Sprint (1200m) at Hastings in April and then fillies and mares races like the Listed Rotorua Stakes (1400m) and the Listed Tauranga Classic (1400m), both in May.
Also impressing from the Lowry-Cullen team at Trentham last Saturday was Mohaka, who led most of the way before finishing third in the Group 3 Trentham Stakes (2100m).
“She’s a really good, honest mare and it was a terrific run against the pattern of racing on the day,” Lowry said.
Mohaka may be next seen in the Group 3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) on February 5 and then possibly the Group 2 Avondale Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie on February 19.
“She’s got a pretty high cruising speed and she’s never really been over ground, so it would be nice to think she could get 2400m.”