Robyn Mauger is running the promising stayer Larrikin out of his grade on Saturday by necessity rather than choice.
The Rangiora trainer has a goal in mind for the lightly-tried five-year-old and a run in the Listed Carriers Arms Riverton Cup (2147m) fits in with the programme.
“It’s a step toward a 2500m race at Riccarton on May 5,” Mauger said. “There aren’t enough stayers’ races and he really needs more ground than 2000m.
“It’s a struggle to find suitable races for him – he’s a true southern stayer, a two-mile horse.”
A son of Raise The Flag, Larrikin has been patiently handled to win three of his 10 starts, all of his successes coming over middle distances.
“The further he goes the better he’ll be,” Mauger said. “He’s still developing and his best year will be next year.
“He’ll be up against some proven stayers on Saturday, but he always tries his heart out.”
A last-start winner over 2200m at Riccarton, Larrikin will have a change of rider at Riverton with Kin Kwo taking the reins from Kylie Williams, who has ridden the gelding in all of his wins.
“Unfortunately, Kylie got suspended but Kin was on the horse in his first trial,” Mauger said. “He remembers him and I like the way he rides.”
Another factor in Larrikin’s favour is the prospect of a Dead track, conditions he has handled with aplomb in his short career