Peter Lock has taken a different approach to have his stable star Hiflyer at the top of his game for the first Group 1 challenge of his career.
The Te Aroha trainer opted to vary the five-year-old’s work in his lead-up to the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
“I’ve changed things around a bit going into this race and decided to take him to Raglan Beach,” Lock said.
“He worked well along the beach and had a good swim. I’m really happy with him, but it’s a big ask for him to have his first start over 2000m in a Group 1 race.
“It probably hasn’t been the ideal preparation and maybe I should have given him a 2000m race somewhere before this, but it didn’t pan out.”
Hiflyer will be attempting to complete a hat-trick of black type wins following successes in the Group 3 Thompson Handicap (1600m) and the Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m).
“He’s the new boy on the block and win, lose or draw he’s done the syndicate and his followers proud,” Lock said.
“He’s had 18 starts and never been out of the money. He’s going into a Group One in only his second season of racing and I wake up every morning pinching myself – I’m so lucky to have a horse of his calibre.”
Lock is wary of a possible lack of pace in the Zabeel Classic, but he has the utmost faith in his rider Johnathan Parkes to give Hiflyer every chance.
“I’ve got every confidence in Johnathan and I’ve done everything I can as well,” he said.