Promising two-year-old Nirvana in Fire resumes from a short summer break when he takes on a small but select line-up in the juvenile event over 1215m at Rotorua on Monday.
The Showcasing colt looked a galloper of real promise when he won over 1100m on debut at Pukekohe last December.
A runner-up finish at Ellerslie in his next run clinched a start in the rich Karaka Million (1200m), however a wide barrier draw and some early buffeting saw him finish well- back which necessitated time in the spelling paddock before embarking on an autumn campaign.
A smart trial win at Taupo recently has co-trainer Andrew Scott of the belief the powerful colt is ready to return in style at Rotorua.
“He’s a pretty smart customer as he showed in his first campaign,” he said.
“Things just didn’t go his way in the Karaka Million so we gave him a brief freshen-up and he has come back keen and looking superb after the time away.
“He won his trial nicely over 1000m at Taupo, without being asked for much so we are happy with where he is at for Rotorua.”
Scott is also confident the colt will handle any moisture in the Rotorua surface which was rated a Dead5 24 hours out from raceday.
“He won on a Dead4 at Pukekohe and he has handled some give in the ground at home in his work,” he said.
“He wouldn’t want it to get too wet, but we think he will appreciate a little easing from a really firm track.”
Despite facing just four rivals Scott is taking nothing for granted about the race.
“It’s a small field but it’s full of talent,” he said.
“We are the only race winner but of the rest, two have run in some pretty handy company while the other two have both looked good at the trials.
“We do expect a good run, but the main thing will be to see him do everything right and come through the race well.
“We don’t have any major plans for him preferring to take things a race at a time, but we do think he is going to mature into a very handy three-year-old based on what he has shown us so far.”