Group One-winning trainer Geoff Haigh isn’t in any rush with his progressive four-year-old High Quality.
“I’ll just take him through his classes quietly and as he matures he’ll hopefully step up and make it in the top grade,” the Levin-based horseman said.
“He’s game and he really tries hard so he’s going the right way.”
The son of Handsome Ransom won two trials last season before he finished runner-up on debut and then went one better at Awapuni.
He was then turned out and this term he has won at Trentham and replicated that mile success at Otaki last month.
“He could go there again on Saturday week and step up to 2100 metres, he’s looking like he wants to go a bit further now,” Haigh said.
“In the whole family nothing has won over the shorter distances.”
The leading staying light in the pedigree is Doriemus, the multiple Group One winner of the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
While High Quality has yet to race on anything other than heavy and slow ground, on which he has three wins and two placings from six starts, Haigh doesn’t believe the gelding to be a one trick pony.
“He’s had a couple of trials on the firmer tracks and they didn’t seem to worry him at all,” he said. “As he gets older I’m sure he’ll cope.”
Haigh has contented himself with a small team since the heady Group One days with his top mare Candide.
She bagged wins in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas and the New Zealand Oaks and also ran third in the AJC Oaks and Caulfield Stakes and fourths in the New Zealand Derby, AJC Derby and Caulfield Cup.
Smart stablemates trial well
Francaletta and Eleonora added momentum to upcoming campaigns when they enjoyed a spin around Te Awamutu at Tuesday’s Waipa trials.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained stablemates finished second and third respectively behind One Cool Message in an open heat over 850m.
“The 1200m of the Foxbridge Plate might be a bit short for Francaletta, if she gets in, but she’s a pretty good mare,” Baker said. “There are a few other options and we’ll be doing our best to get black print for her.
“Eleonora will be going straight to Melbourne and she’s actually past the ballot for the big Cups. It’s whether she gets enough weight, but she’s a very good filly.”
Kalychurun enjoying stint at home
Kevin Kalychurun will be absent from the South Island jockey ranks for a number of weeks.
The 31-year-old has recently been licensed in his native Mauritius and he will be riding there until September.
Kalychurun, who has a career tally of 59 New Zealand winners, enjoyed his first black type success this season when he won the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Airfreight Stakes at Riccarton aboard Showemup.
Kitaya runs up to expectations
Former Hong Kong galloper Kitaya didn’t disappoint connections in his New Zealand debut.
The seven-year-old fronted up in an open sprint at Te Rapa last Saturday and he finished a close third behind Southern Icon.
“It was a super run and he pulled up really well,” trainer Danica Guy said. “I knew he wouldn’t disgrace himself – he loves New Zealand, he’s a very happy horse.”
Group winner making right moves
Matamata Breeders’ Stakes winner Gold Fever will trial next month in preparation for her three-year-old debut.
“We’re extremely pleased with her at this early stage of her preparation,” said Stephen Autridge, who trains with Jamie Richards.
“She’s a lot stronger, grown a touch and mentally she has matured for the spell, because at two she could be on the toe and a bit of a tart around the stables and at the track.
“This time in she’s a lot better in all respects and we can only hope that it transpires into her race performances as a three-year-old.”
Autridge said Gold Fever is scheduled to trial at Te Rapa on August 15 with her first stakes assignment the Gr.3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders’ Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings on September 23.