Time is expected to bring out the best in the lightly-tried stakes performer Kirkland.
The son of Highly Recommended showed his talent when he finished runner-up to the now Hong Kong-based Waldorf in the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) before two unplaced performances.
“Everybody was telling me that he was a Derby horse, but then he ran a couple of shockers,” part-owner and trainer Alexander Fieldes said.
Kirkland was subsequently sent to the paddock after receiving a clean bill of health.
“We couldn’t find anything wrong with him so we’re giving him a good, long spell,” Fieldes said.
“He’s a big, weak horse – he’s 520kg now – and was always going to be a time job.”
Meanwhile, stablemate Sardeen has an opportunity at Wanganui on Friday to post a well-deserved win in the Stevo’s Distributors Maiden (1600m).
The genuine four-year-old has placed in eight of his 12 appearances, including three runner-up finishes.
“He’s the biggest tease in the history of mankind,” Fieldes said. “He tries really hard, but he always seems to find one better.”
Sardeen finished second at Tauherenikau last month before he ran third at Woodville and then beat all but the impressive He’s A Freak, who remains in contention for a Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) start, at Awapuni a week ago.
“I wouldn’t normally back him up, but he’s probably going to go to the paddock after Friday so we might as well give him a chance,” Fieldes said.