Wexford Stables will be looking to continue their golden run when they head to Taupo on Wednesday.
The Matamata operation will line-up three favourites on the six race card and are expected to kick-off the midweek meeting with a bang, with the Cliff Matson-owned three-year-olds Jungleland and Cupid’s Arrow holding joint +230 favouritism with horse racing bookmakers.
Tarzino gelding Jungleland was runner-up over a mile at Te Rapa last start, while Cupid’s Arrow posted two placings before running sixth at the same meeting.
“Jungleland has been building really well. His last race was really encouraging,” said Andrew Scott, who trains the gelding in partnership with Lance O’Sullivan. “He lacked a bit of luck in his first two (starts), where he got back with bad barriers, but he is starting to put it together and he has continued to go the right way since his last race and has grown in confidence. He should be pretty hard to beat.
“Cupid’s Arrow has lacked a bit of luck in her last two. She got caught three-wide in both of her last runs. Everything indicates that she should stay well tomorrow. She has got a wonderful constitution and she certainly deserves a win tomorrow.”
Stablemate Geriatrix will have a drop in class, having last competed in the $1.5 million Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) where he beat just one runner home, but Scott said he had his excuses.
“He didn’t handle the ground there at Ellerslie on Karaka Millions night. He had been away from the races for a fair while too,” he said.
“But the run has tightened him up a lot. He is familiar with the track at Taupo, he has had the one start there and won well. If he brings a similar performance, he is certainly going to be right in it.”
Bookmakers agree, installing the Almanzor colt a +150 favourite for his Taupo assignment.
Wexford are also expecting a good showing from promising filly Tomodachi, for which she is a +220 favourite.
“She is a really nice filly,” Scott said. “We have been educating her nicely at the trials and she stretched out well last time.
“She might find the 1200m a little bit short and sharp, but once she gets out to 1400m and a mile, it is all in front of her, she is a really promising filly.”
Looking ahead to the weekend, Scott is looking forward to heading north to Ellerslie on Saturday where Wexford will line-up a number of stakes chances.
Mosinvador was runner-up to Ascend The Throne in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa a fortnight ago and his connections are hoping he can go one better in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m), where he will be joined by stablemates The Weapon and Monday Melody.
“Mossinvador was really good in the Waikato Guineas. We think he has gone the right way, and he has improved with his first run over ground,” Scott said.
“The Weapon was a bit unsuited to the ground on Karaka Millions night (when ninth in the TAB Karaka Millions 3YO). He looks like he can stay, and he worked really well this morning.”
Wexford hold Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) aspirations with their Guineas contenders, a race they won two years ago with Asterix, who on Saturday will contest the Group 2 Avondale Cup (2200m).
“We think Asterix is about due to strike. He has got a hood on for the first time this preparation and he should run more competitively,” Scott said.
The Matamata barn will also have a three-pronged attack in the meeting’s other feature race, the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (1200m), courtesy of I’munstoppable, Tanganyika, and Foxglove.
“Tanganyika was a wee bit unlucky last start, he hit the line well and we think he is up to Group company,” Scott said.
“I’munstoppable has won her last two and she deserves a good crack at black-type. Foxglove has been finishing strongly in her last two runs and is another filly we have got a good opinion of.
“Hopefully on the weekend we should have a good day.”
Meanwhile, the stable’s star filly Molly Bloom is enjoying some time in the paddock following her win in the Group 2 David & Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa last Saturday.
“We have popped her in the paddock for a couple of days, she deserves a wee break,” Scott said. “She is safe and sound and we will make a call on her in the next couple of days.”