Katrina and Simon Alexander will be on a scouting mission at Trentham on Saturday with progressive stayer Stopalltheclocks, while stablemate Te Toki’s immediate future will also be locked in after he steps out at Ellerslie.
The Matamata trainers have sent Stopalltheclocks south for the Clubs NZ Summer Cup (2400m) with a view to a possible return for a black-type assignment and Te Toki’s path will be determined following his run in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).
A four-year-old daughter of Real Impact, Stopalltheclocks has showed her appetite for distance racing with consecutive wins over 2000m at Matamata and over 2200m at Rotorua.
“In her first prep as a three-year-old she was a bit weak and went close to winning a couple of times and this time in she has really done everything right,” Simon Alexander said.
“The further she goes the better she will be, I’ve got no issues with the 2400 metres. It’s her first trip away and that might be the only concern.”
As long as Stopalltheclocks copes with the travel and performs well, the Listed New Zealand St Leger (2600m) at Trentham on March 19 is a possible target.
“We might go back down there for the St Leger. It’s an open race now and not for three and four-year-olds so we’re not sure how many points she’d need to get in a race like that,” Alexander said.
“A bit of black-type in a race like that would suit her nicely. She is a genuine stayer and hasn’t got a brilliant turn of foot, but she’ll roll along and keep kicking.
“She comes out of the barrier okay so she has options – she can go forward and lead or sit off it and being drawn out a bit on Saturday will suit her. She can roll forward or slot in somewhere so she won’t be dictated to.”
Te Toki won his first two starts and then finished third behind subsequent Group 3 Anniversary Handicap (1600m) winner Bankers Choice at Te Rapa before he ran fourth in the Group 2 Auckland Guineas (1600m).
“I really think he’s a top three or four chance on Saturday and the draw hasn’t made it any easier, but we are very happy with him. It has all been geared around trying to win this race,” Alexander said.
“Riding him off the speed last time in a race that had no tempo was always a risk and we are comfortable with him. He will strip an improved horse from three weeks ago.
“He was the speed in the Guineas on New Year’s Day and when we weren’t going forward it obviously took a lot of speed out of it. We are happy the way he is tracking and Vinnie (Colgan) knows him well.”
Nominated for both the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) and the Group 1 Wellington Seamarket Levin Classic (1600m), Te Toki’s ownership group changed following his first two wins with Gee Gee Equine’s Gerard Peterson and Rod Duke purchasing interests in the three-year-old.
“Obviously, Gerard and Rod bought into him and I have mentioned to them that a concern might be carrying on to our Derby on hard tracks,” Alexander said.
“We will get through Saturday and then regroup – win, lose or draw. We’ll have a think then where he is best placed to maximise his potential.
“It might be to stay here for another run or it might be a week or so in the paddock and then head to Australia and get ready for the autumn or the winter. He’s got options and when he gets to 2000m he will be a far better horse.”