Otaki trainers Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard will have a strong hand in Saturday’s Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hawke’s Bay, with high-class gallopers Scott Base and Wyndspelle set to resume.
The talented duo had their final hit-out in preparation for Saturday’s feature when working over 1200m in a gallop ahead of the trials at Foxton on Tuesday morning, with $6 equal second-favourite Scott Base edging his stablemate.
“He worked over 1200m with Wyndspelle,” Benner said.
“They ran 1:15 and a bit for the 1200m and worked home in 36. He was very good. It was strong work and I’m very happy with him.
“Wyndspelle is looking for a bit further and he is not comfortable in the ground, so Scott Base had it over him a little bit late, but it was good, strong work from the pair of them.
“I was thrilled with the way Scott Base pulled up. He is a lot more forward than I thought. He has really shown strong improvement from that trial last week and that is what we wanted to see.”
Scott Base proved he was right up with the best of his year when winning the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Elleslie in January, defeating Group One winners Embellish and Savvy Coup.
The son of Dalghar signed off from his three-year-old campaign with a strong win in the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m), with Benner and Wynyard resisting the temptation to campaign in Australia.
“We gave him a nice spell after the Wellington Guineas to help him get over a few little issues,” Benner said.
“Obviously, he has raced well fresh in the past, albeit in lower grade races.
“It is a Group One race and they are never easy to win, but we are very happy with our horse and where he sits, and he is a little bit special as we have seen in some of his performances.
“It is a hard race to win, but we are pretty confident we will be getting part of it.”
Benner and Wynyard have trained some quality gallopers previously, including the now multiple Group One winner Humidor, but believe Scott Base has similar ability.
“He is right up there with the best we’ve had,” Benner said. “I suppose he has got to do a bit more yet, but he is right there.
Scott Base is likely to be seen back at Hawke’s Bay for the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) on September 22 and the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) on October 6 before an Australian campaign is locked in.
“Ultimately, going through the three legs of the Hawke’s Bay triple crown would be ideal and then into the Cox Plate, but there is a lot of water to go under the bridge,” Benner said.
Meanwhile, Benner is pleased with stablemate Wyndspelle and believes the five-year-old will be seen to greater effect in the second and third legs of the Hawke’s Bay series.
“He’s going really well, we’re learning about him all the time.
“My gut is telling me that he sort of wants 1600m and further, so this first race is probably going to be a touch short for him.
“He’s pretty forward and the key to his chances is he needs dry ground. I think the second and third legs are going to be more up his alley with the distance.”