Carl Henderson has a Group One plan locked in for his stable star Jodelin Gal and a trip to the Central Districts earlier this month successfully ticked off a step along the way.
The Te Awamutu-based trainer trekked south to Hawke's Bay with the talented Swiss Ace five-year-old and the scouting mission had a perfect outcome with the mare claiming top honours in an open 1400m handicap.
“The long-range plan is the Tarzino because she will be fit and hard and some of the other ones might be a bit vulnerable,” Henderson said.
“I don't know what will be about this year, there's no Melody Belle or Avantage so if we can sneak a place in the Tarzino then Group One form on her pedigree page would be great. That's our main aim, all going well.
“That was the reason we went to Hastings the other day as she had never been too far from home before.
“It was only a day trip, but it was a fair old float trip and it was perfect so I'm happy where we're at.”
In the meantime, Henderson will run Jodelin Gal in Saturday's Listed Team Wealleans Tauranga Classic ITM/GIB Sprinters' Winter Championship Final (1400m).
“She'll head to Tauranga and she's come through her last run huge, she was better after the race than before it.
“I'm quite excited about the weekend to be honest. She is going to drop a couple of kilos, she had 59.5kg the other week so the conditions of the race suit.
“The trip away to Hastings and the run under her belt has improved her.”
Henderson won't over tax Jodelin Gal, who has won six of her 15 starts, on her way to her Group One target.
“I'd be reluctant to go there, she just doesn't like the place for some reason.
“She is entered for a NZD$60,000 race at Ruakaka in July, but she would get quite a bit of weight and it's not a black-type race so there's really no point in going there.
“It all revolves around stakes racing for her now.”
Meanwhile, Henderson is hoping a promising triallist can provide a winning lead at Pukekohe on Wednesday for Jodelin Gal to follow up on.
Telperion two-year-old Belthil will make his first appearance in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1200m) after success in his last trial outing on a Good 3 track at Taupo.
“I have got (New Zealand) 2000 Guineas (Group 1, 1600m) aspirations with him, obviously on wet ground any horse can fall in a bit of a heap when you let their heads go, but his work has been great,” Henderson said.
“He has been working with Jodelin Gal and going as well as her so that's pretty good.
“I think he is a winning chance if he does everything right. He might lack a bit of ring craft, but he's a pretty good galloper.”
“Bloodstock agent Taui Johnson had bought him in Australia and he didn't make his reserve at the Ready to Run Sale so he got a group of guys together to race him,” Henderson said.
“He's a nice, big, strong horse who has always showed ability. He can just do a few dumb things on the spur of the moment but it wouldn't surprise me if he won.”