Trainer Peter Williams is pleased with the success he and wife Dawn have had with their Byerley Park stable in recent weeks and is looking to his five runners at Ellerslie on Sunday to carry on their good work of late.
Their challenge will be headed by progressive mares Saint Alice and Slave To Love who will contest the Jarden 1600 and Royal Descent Stakes (1600m) respectively while exciting two-year-old prospect Desert Lightning will take on his biggest test when he tackles the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m).
Rounding out the Williams runners will be Helsinki, who will join stablemate Saint Alice in the Jarden 1600, a race for horses that were maiden gallopers as of December 29 and Bunkers who will contest a rating 65 2100m contest.
Four-year-old So You Think mare Saint Alice falls into that category, having gone unbeaten in three starts since winning on January 3 while stablemate Helsinki also sports a win and a tidy runner-up finish in her last two appearances.
“I’m going to run Saint Alice in the maiden race as I didn’t want her to clash with Slave To Love in the Royal Descent Stakes,” Williams said.
“She will carry 57kgs with the claim of Ashvin Goindasamy, who is riding her and I think she looks very well placed there.
“Helsinki is also in and while I would like for the race to have been 1400m for her, her form is very good as well.
“I did contemplate putting Slave To Love in the Group One (Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes, 2000m), but it may be a bit soon for that.
“She is working really well and I’m very happy with her and, although it is a tough field, I think she will acquit herself very well.”
Williams is excited about the future with Desert Lightning and believes Saturday’s Group One test will provide him with a good line on his ability as he tackles unbeaten filly Maven Belle and last start Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner Dynastic.
“He is a nice horse, who is probably going to be a better three-year-old,” he said.
“There are only seven horses in it and he has won a race, so we thought we would have a go.
“If he could run second, third or fourth in a Group One we would be happy as he is a very nice horse.”