Mission Hill and Mongolianconqueror have tightened in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) market after bold showings at Te Rapa.
The former accounted the older horses in the Snell Packaging & Safety Handicap (1600m) while the latter was beaten by the barest of margins in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m).
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained duo now share an $8 quote for the Vodafone-sponsored classic at Ellerslie on March 3.
In a changing market after the defections of top colts Age Of Fire and Demonetization, Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) winner Scott Base is the $3.50 favourite.
A son of Teofilo, Mission Hill in now unbeaten in his last four starts and came from a tricky spot near the back of the field on the turn to keep his winning sequence going.
“It was a cool ride from Opie (Bosson),” Forsman said. “He’s a real winner and tries hard. The only worry with him is that physically he’s still quite immature.”
He was also pleased with the effort of Vin De Dance, who is at $16 in the Derby market, after the Roc de Cambes gelding came from last on the bend to finish fifth.
“He got a long way back. He’s still on the way up and there’s a lot of improvement to come from him.”