While he is the first to admit that promising filly House Of Cartier faces a massive task at Ellerslie on Wednesday, trainer Nigel Tiley is not backing away from the fight.
Successful in maiden company at her last start, House Of Cartier will tackle the big league when she takes her place in the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m).
The daughter of multiple Group One winner Shez Sinsational created a huge impression when she sat three-wide before powering to victory over 1400m at Pukekohe, in a race where the form has stacked up well in the following weeks.
“She was pretty impressive on her home course and I see that both horses that finished in the placings have gone on and won since,” Tiley said.
“I’ve always thought she had a touch of class about her, although I firmly believe she will be a much better prospect in the autumn.
“It’s a massive step-up on Boxing Day, but I think she deserves her place in the field.”
Although drawn awkwardly in barrier ten in the 12-horse field, Tiley believes forecast rain could play into his hands.
“She will definitely be a starter despite the wide draw,” he said.
“She was always going to go back at the start, as she isn’t the type you can hustle along early, so if we get the rain they are predicting, being drawn a little wider might turn out to be in our favour.
“There looks to be good speed in the race, so I will be looking for her to be finishing off nicely in the final stages.”
Safely through the race Tiley will ease up on the Alamosa filly as he looks towards her major autumn goal, the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in March.
“She is going to need a break at some stage, so we might pop her out for a few days after Wednesday,” he said.
“Of course, if she came out and won it comfortably, we might consider the Royal Stakes (2000m) on New Year’s day, but that is really a longshot at this stage.
“I just think she will have so much to offer in the autumn that if we can remain patient with her now, we will reap the benefits then.”
Tiley will also play a patient game with impressive juvenile Qiji Spirit who made a good fist of his raceday debut when running second at Awapuni on Saturday.
“He’s not really a natural two-year-old, but he had done so well since his trial win at Avondale that I thought he was ready to go to the races,” he said.
“It was a super effort as he drew wide and got into an awkward position during the race before finishing it off really well at the business end.
“He got beaten by a pretty good horse and should have taken plenty of benefit from the race and trip away.
“He is eligible for the Karaka Million, so we will get him home and see how he recovers before deciding if we try to get him into the race.”
The Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) will be run at Ellerslie on January 26.