A powerful work-out at Matamata on Thursday by stable star Hiflyer has Te Aroha trainer Peter Lock excited about his prospects for the first Group One contest of the season at Hastings this coming weekend.
Hiflyer will start as one of the well fancied candidates for the Tarzino Trophy (1400m), currently sitting on the second line of betting at $6 in the TAB’s Fixed Odds market behind $3.80 favourite Melody Belle.
Lock believes the Tavistock gelding’s recent Australian campaign has been the making of the six-year-old who finished fourth in both of his starts at Rosehill.
“He seems to have grown up as a result of that trip and is a different horse now,” Lock said.
“I just can’t believe how good he looks and he has turned plenty of heads lately.
“Sir Patrick Hogan, who co-owns him, came over home on Friday and he told me he has never seen a horse look so good after coming back from Australia.”
Lock has had his star ticking over nicely since his return from Sydney with his gallop at Matamata confirming he is near his peak for Saturday’s contest.
“His work was just massive on Thursday,” he said.
“He did exactly what I asked of him and he has been bouncing since then.
“I guess now all we are looking for is a good draw and a little piece of luck in the race.”
While most trainers will be anxiously scanning the weather forecasts over the next few days, Lock is in the enviable position of having a galloper who is adept in all track conditions.
“Like most of the horses we will be suited best by a decent track but if it did rain then we may have a small advantage over some of the runners,” he said.
“He’s won on a heavy track at Trentham so we know he can handle it if it does get very wet.
“I think for the good of racing we need a good surface so we can see the best perform but I won’t be worried if it does cut up a bit rough.
“I actually asked Sir Patrick to do his best with the weather gods, so I’ve got my fingers crossed his contacts can come through.”
Hiflyer will also enjoy the services of regular pilot Johnathan Parkes who is in a purple patch of form to kick-off the new season where he sits atop the Jockey’s Premiership after picking up a winning treble at New Plymouth on the weekend.