Riccarton galloper Khimar War will return to his home track on Saturday where he will resume in the Rangiora Equine Services Open Handicap (1100m).
The son of Sweet Orange has pleased his connections this preparation, having placed on four occasions, including third in the Listed Hazlett Stakes (1200m) at Wingatui on Boxing Day.
That performance enticed his owners to push forward to the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham last month where he finished eighth, beating home three of his Island compatriots, including Saturday race rival Enzo’s Lad.
Trainer Lance Robinson was pleased with his Trentham effort but said the conditions of the race and quality of the field didn’t suit his charge.
“We were really happy with his run, but he was never really a chance at weight-for-age in a field like that,” he said.
“We were happy with the way he was going, that is why his owners decided they wanted to have a crack.
“Chris Johnson rode him in the Telegraph and he was really thrilled with his run. He thought he was going to be half a chance halfway down and might run fourth or fifth. But as Chris said, weight-for-age didn’t really suit him.
“He is back home now and he is better placed around here.”
Robinson has been happy with the way the five-year-old has returned to his stable and he said his only concern ahead of Saturday is the track conditions.
“He had a week off in the paddock after he got home and had a bit of a freshen-up. He has come back in great shape and we have been really happy with his work since then,” he said.
“Back to 1100m on Saturday and the only thing that worries me is the track at the moment has come up as a Slow8. We had a lot of rain on Tuesday night and he is really a firm track horse. But hopefully the track will come back by Saturday.”
Robinson will also contest the race with Live Drama, who takes two wins into Saturday’s assignment.
“She has come up really well this year and she has won her last two starts,” he said. “She was beaten a nose in the Gore Guineas (Listed, 1335m) last year. We are really pleased with where she is at. She is a little bit stronger now and she will run really well.
“It’s a step up to open company, but I am sure she will be very competitive.”