Jim Collett has only one worry with Sasanof’s Hero on his Awapuni venture. The Matamata trainer has the six-year-old at the top of his game for Saturday’s Listed James Bull Rangitikei Gold Cup (1600m), but has reservations about the underfoot conditions.
“He likes the distance and going left-handed, the wet ground is the only worry,” Collett said.
“He has raced well on heavy tracks, but he’s never won.”
Sasanof’s Hero is unbeaten this preparation after a resuming success at Rotorua and a follow-up victory at Hawke’s Bay at the end of last month.
“He’s done nothing wrong and he deserves a crack at this race,” Collett said.
The son of Patapan is raced by breeder Frances Crimmins, who also shared in the ownership of the multiple Group 1 winner Sir Slick and the Group 1 Easter Handicap (1600m) winner Time Keeper.
Stable apprentice Tegan Abel has been aboard Sasanof’s Hero in his last two wins and she will continue her association with the horse on Saturday.
“She gets on well with him, he’s not the easiest horse to ride and if he gets to the front too soon he pulls up,” Collett said.
Track conditions at Awapuni won’t trouble stablemate Sarabande, who runs in the Water Force Handicap (1550m).
The daughter of Savabeel finished out of the money last time out at Te Rapa, where the bias of the day brought about her downfall.
“The pattern of racing was against her, nothing that got back was able to make up ground,” Collett said.
“She’s well and she handles wet ground.”