Te Akau Head Trainer Mark Walker will have leading two-year-old black-type prospects at both venues on Saturday.
Viva Vienna appeals as a top chance in the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa while Cu Chulainn also has strong claims in the Listed Berkley Stud Stakes (1200m) at Riccarton.
All Too Hard filly Viva Vienna beat subsequent Listed Challenge Stakes (1100m) and Listed Karaka Million (1200m) runner-up Ethereal Star during her first preparation and, following a break, successfully resumed at Te Rapa last month.
“She was super and drew a bit wide and had to work to get to a good spot. They went very hard and she kept up a strong gallop with them all coming at her,” Te Akau racing Manager Reece Trumper said.
“It was a tough effort after being off the scene for a long time. She went a bit shin sore so we tipped her out and gave her the time she needed.”
Viva Vienna has yet to be tested at Saturday’s distance but will be aided by the inside barrier with Warren Kennedy to partner the chestnut again.
“She still has to run 1200m, she hasn’t run it yet. She ran 1100m on Boxing Day when she was beaten by the best two-year-old (Tokyo Tycoon) in the country and we’ve always thought she had plenty of ability,” Trumper said.
“It was a really good effort to win last time and a Soft 6 track would be absolutely perfect.
“She’s got a beautiful pedigree as well, she’s out of a Snitzel mare. She’s bred to be a very fast horse so she’s got a lot going for her.”
To be ridden by Wiremu Pinn, Cu Chulainn was unbeaten in his first two appearances before the son of Burgundy finished runner-up last time out behind Penvose Lad, a race rival again.
“He jumped away very awkwardly and got into a tough spot and obviously we’ve drawn the inside again, which isn’t ideal,” Trumper said.
“We’ll give him a really good warm-up and hopefully get him out of the gates quickly. Going back to set weights will help him because he was giving the winner 2kg last time so it brings him into it more, for sure.
“This will be him done and then he’ll have a break and come back for the Guineas races.”
Meanwhile, the stable will be represented by a host of other genuine chances at Te Rapa with Bak Da Master presented with a gilt-edged opportunity to add to his three wins over the smaller fences in the Harcourts Hamilton Rentals Hurdle (2800m).
“It’s just a role he loves and he looks very well-weighted in the hurdle race being only 1.5kg more than the rest,” Trumper said.
He also fancied the prospects of Aris Aris in the Shaw’s Wires Ropes Sprint (1200m) and Zeitaku in the Adrian & Associates Insurance Handicap (1400m).
“Aris Aris very good last time out and only finished two lengths off the best autumn sprinters we’ve got in the country,” Trumper said.
“Zeitaku has been flying all season and he nearly beat Pearl Of Alsace at Hastings three starts ago so that shows good enough form to win.”