Pukekohe-based trainer Nigel Tiley is happy to take a wait and see approach as the build-up commences for the resumption of racing in New Zealand in early July.
Tiley, who has enjoyed a stellar season with the likes of multiple stakes winners Riodini and Play That Song, had been ready to launch the campaigns of his winter team members when the Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to all New Zealand racing in late March.
With the uncertainty surrounding restart dates, what tracks would be available and prizemoney levels, he and wife Lee took a second look at how they would approach things once those details had been sorted out. “We had most of our winter team ready to go when racing was suspended so it just put a temporary halt on what we were planning to do,” Tiley said. “Once it became apparent there was going to be some pretty significant changes, we took a look at how it would affect us and revised the timing on just when we would start to bring horses back into the stable.
“I was adamant I was following what the Trainer’s Association said about stakes levels needing to be confirmed and the like before I would start up again, so our first day will be on Monday now that a degree of clarity has been reached. “It does mean we will only have about fifteen horses in work with seven or eight of those being our true winter team and the rest will be just ticking over.
“Proven winter gallopers like Lupelani and Double Happy will be the backbone of our team while we also have three maidens and a couple of rating 65 horses to flesh things out.”
Tiley believes the break came at a good time for a number of his potential spring and summer stars although plans are still up in the air for several of them. “We had Play That Song set for the Sires’ Produce Stakes (Group 1, 1400m) at Awapuni and Riodini getting ready for the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (Group 3, 1200m) in April so the lockdown put paid to that,” he said.
“It just meant that they each got an extra couple of weeks in the paddock which will do them no harm. “I think Play That Song is an ideal One Thousand Guineas (Group 1, 1600m) type so that will most likely be the plan for her. We will look at getting her back in later in the winter and get her ready to kick off in September at this stage.
“We are still thinking about what we are going to do with Riodini so I will sit down and have a chat with his owners and we can work out a timetable for him. “He has been spelling out at Rich Hill Stud and by all accounts is looking a picture.”
Tiley is also unsure of his plans for promising stayer Kissinger who has won two of his three starts however he is excited about the summer prospects of impressive last-start Ellerslie winner Riding The Wave. “Riding The Wave is finally starting to put it all together and I think he can be competitive against the best of our sprinters,” he said.
“He can run some unbelievable sectionals on the track and look like he is doing it at half pace. “He is just the type who is suited in the higher grades as he likes it when the pace is on so a race like the Railway (Group 1, 1200m) at Ellerslie is one we would like to target with him.”