Red Giant gelding Major Tom enjoys racing on his home track of Ruakaka, but if he fails to fire in Saturday’s Logan Racing Ruakaka Cup (2200m) it could spell the end of his Group 3 Christchurch Casino New Zealand Cup (3200m) campaign.
The Ken Rae and Krystal Williams-Tuhoro trained five-year-old had a stellar winter in the north, compiling a hat-trick of wins at Ruakaka before finishing unplaced in the Taumaranui Gold Cup (2200m) at Rotorua in July.
He was then freshened for his spring resumption at Ruakaka in the Bear Morgan @ Harcourts Bream Bay (2100m) earlier this month where he finished runner-up from his outside barrier.
“The draw beat him more than anything,” Rae said.
“He over-raced trying to get across, but he seems to have pulled through it alright.
“It’s D-day for him (on Saturday), if he goes well we’ll push on with his run for the New Zealand Cup, if he doesn’t he’ll go to the paddock for a spell.”
Rae said Major Tom will also head to the paddock for a freshen-up if he does impress and will be given a light preparation heading into the two-mile feature in November.
“I’ll probably give him a week off (if he does head towards the New Zealand Cup). He’s a pretty clean-winded horse and he has done a fair bit of racing.
“He’ll probably only have one or two lead-up races to the New Zealand Cup.”
Meanwhile, earlier in the card Rae will line-up multiple stakes-winning mare Prom Queen in the Patron’s Trophy (1200m). The pint-sized chestnut is resuming after a disappointing Queensland winter campaign where she finished runner-up first-up, but was unplaced in her two subsequent runs.
“She was poorly ridden twice,” Rae said.
“Craig Williams rode the horse to perfection first- up and got off the horse and told me she was good enough for Melbourne and to bring her to Melbourne.”
Rae said Prom Queen will race handy from barrier three on Saturday and will then head towards the Group 3 Lindauer Stewards’ Stakes Handicap (1200m) at Riccarton in November.
“Sam Collett has had two rides on her for two wins, she knows how to ride her,” Rae said. “I want the horse ridden upfront and in the clear. “She’s a small horse, she has got to have clear running. Mentally she can cop it because she is very tough, physically with her size she can’t.
“She has been good as gold in her work but I would have liked to have given her a little bit more time off, but our lease runs out in August and we want to get what we can without pushing the horse too much.
“She seems as bright as a button. She’ll either go straight into the Stewards or have one more run.”