Christchurch trainer Terri Rae is no stranger to feature race success at Trentham and she is hoping for further Group Three honours at the Wellington track this weekend.
Rae produced Hold It Harvey to win the Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham in 2011 and has two chances to repeat at that level on Saturday.
Rae will saddle five-year-old Alamosa mare Aspen Lass in the Gr.3 Mills Reef Trentham Stakes (2100m) and the Darci Brahma six-year-old gelding Kolonel Kev in the Gr.3 Tui – Backing Winners Since 1889 Anniversary (1600m), as well as Sacred Desire in the El Cheapo Cars Premier (1200m).
“We’ve made the trip to Trentham quite a few times and Hold It Harvey was able to win there, but he was an everywhere horse. It didn’t matter where he raced,” Rae said.
Aspen Lass and Kolonel Kev clashed last time out in the Listed Timaru Stakes (1600m), with Kolonel Kev making it two wins in as many starts for his new stable, while Aspen Lass was never able to obtain clear running and finished seventh.
“She just never got any clear run down the straight,” Rae said of Aspen Lass.
“I would have preferred a better draw because she doesn’t just have to go back, but she just hasn’t had any luck with her barriers. She settles really well though. She jumps out and tucks her head so she goes over ground well.
“She has that stamina and a reasonable turn of foot. This is a huge step up for her but it will give us a line on where she’s at in this company.”
A winner of five of her 17 starts, Aspen Lass was second in the Listed Spring Classic (2000m) at Riccarton in October before winning the Listed Metropolitan Handicap (2500m) at the same track and last season finished fifth in the Gr.3 White Robe Lodge Handicap (1600m) at Wingatui.
“If she doesn’t quite match it with them on Saturday she’ll go to the Dunedin Cup [over 2400m at Wingatui on February 3], but if she goes really well she does hold a nomination for the Auckland Cup. We’ll assess things after Saturday.”
Rae attributed a change of environment for sparking Kolonel Kev, who chases a hat-trick of wins when he contests the Anniversary.
“It’s a really good field, but he’s got a good draw which will help him. He’s really only raced in Rating 85 company before his Timaru win so we’ll just see how he goes,” Rae said.
“He was boxed in for a little bit but he was strong to the line when he got out and he deserved a trip up north.”
Rae was unsure what path Kolonel Kev would follow after Saturday, suggesting he wouldn’t be suited in the White Robe Lodge (1600m) at Wingatui on February 3 with the change in conditions from handicap to weight-for-age.
She was pleased with the third of her travelling party Sacred Desire, who races in Rating 75 company on Saturday after a luckless third at Timaru last start.
“She’s consistent and didn’t get a run up the straight the other day,” Rae said.