Trainer Pam Gerard was delighted with the return of Tokarangi and Pinmedown at Hawke’s Bay on Saturday.
Three-year-old filly Tokorangi was one of the runs of the day when finishing fourth in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m), while Pinmedown was beaten only four lengths in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) when tenth and will be seen at her best when out to a middle distance.
“Tokorangi probably ran up to how she had been working and to her form last season,” Gerard, who trains in partnership with Michael Moroney, said.
“Maybe she is a little bit of a forgotten horse. She is a pretty smart filly and it has probably taken a little bit of time for her to mature and I don’t think she is anywhere near there yet.”
The daughter of Redwood will now head to the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa before a trip to Riccarton for the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm 48th New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) is considered.
“She is still quite immature, there is not a lot of her and she is a slight filly,” Gerard said. “But she is a very fit and athletic filly.
“We will work our way to the Soliloquy looking at going to the New Zealand Guineas but that will depend on how she copes on the workload and getting her to that 1400 at Te Rapa.”
The Matamata trainer was also pleased with the return of Group Two winner Pinmedown.
“I was rapt. I thought it was a really big run and the plan had always been to go to Counties to the Open 1400m which they took away from us and shifted to Ruakaka and changed to 1200m so there really wasn’t a lot of choice,” Gerard said.
“To run in a Group One fresh up is not ideal but she settled back and I thought her last 50m was really good.”
The daughter of Pins will contest the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) en route to the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m).
“There are plenty of options and she will probably go through the summer and then go to Brisbane and maybe end up in a Broodmare Sale down the track,” Gerard said.
Ballymore Stables will have a number of runners at Matamata on Wednesday, where first-starter Grip faces a talented line up in the One Agency Matamata 1400, where the O’Sullivan-Scott trained Rocket Spade has been installed the $1.90 favourite.
“Grip had a trial before lockdown and he was quite immature,” Gerard said. “He is a big colt and when Mike and Paul (Moroney, bloodstock agent) picked him out at the sales, they thought of him as a Derby horse. There were some similarities between him and Xcellent which is why they bought him.
“At his first trial he didn’t even raise a gallop. He went out and had a spell. We thought about gelding him, but we didn’t, and he has come back and won his first trial very impressively. He went back to the trials again and we tried to get him in amongst horses but that didn’t work out and he still hit the line strongly.
“He hasn’t been left-handed but he has done a bit of work that way. We would just like to see him settle and get home well.”
Gerard is also keen to get a line on Bubalina, a $6.50 chance in the Onsite Dairy Solutions Maiden 1100.
The daughter of Darci Brahma finished sixth on debut at Taupo in a race won by subsequent stakes winner Only Words.
“She was probably a little bit in season in her first start and she was leaning on the gates,” Gerard said.
“Generally in her trials she has been the first one out. She missed the kick and got back and got into a lot of trouble.
“Cameron (Lammas, jockey) said she got to the line under a hold and never got to have a go at them. She is quite a fast little filly that has probably been wanting a slightly better track.
“She has worked up okay and it will be interesting as it was hard to get a line on her in the first one because things didn’t quite go to plan. She is a filly that we have quite a bit of time for.”
On a busy day where the stable will have as many as 10 runners go around on their home track, talented but quirky galloper The Green Dragon ($6.50) is a solid chance of breaking maidens under Opie Bosson.