Trainer John Bary is hoping Trentham becomes a happy hunting ground for his stable over the next couple of months.
The Hawke’s Bay trainer is looking toward the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) with Best Seller and Sequoia Star, who will head to the Upper Hutt track on Saturday to contest the Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m).
Best Seller will lead the stable’s charge this weekend and Bary is expecting to see plenty of improvement from the daughter of Wrote, who finished third first-up over 1200m at Trentham earlier this month.
“The run the other day was just okay, but the track was very sticky,” Bary said.
“Speaking with Sam Spratt and Jonathan Riddell afterwards, they felt it was probably closer to a Heavy 8, they just couldn’t get their feet out.
“I had been a bit light on her and she went in on one exhibition gallop.
“I gave her an extra gallop on Saturday at home because she has been doing really well. She was on the course proper again on Tuesday just to keep it up, and it was really top-notch work.
“She is really well and ready to rumble.”
Following Saturday’s run, Best Seller will return to her home track at Hastings for the Group 2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) in March, which will dictate her autumn plans.
“In a perfect world, she wins on Saturday and then we will probably go to the Lowland Stakes, which is on her home track over 2000m,” Bary said.
“The Lowland will tell us whether we go to the Oaks or go back to the Levin Classic Mile.
“My gut instinct is that she will get the Oaks distance.”
Bary is also confident about getting Sequoia Star to the Oaks, however, he believes the mile distance this weekend may be a bit sharp for his filly.
“She has done nothing wrong and is probably looking for 2000m-plus right now. She is bred for that. Blinkers go back on, she had them on when she won,” Bary said.
“The next two runs were just educating her more and keeping her up to the mark. They have been nice runs against older horses.
“I think over the mile they might be a bit sharp for her. Get her to 2000m and she is one that will definitely see out 2400m, and her main aim is the Oaks.”
Bary will have three other contenders at Trentham this weekend, including Scotch in the Life Direct Premier (1200m), Swazi in the TAB NZ Premier (1200m), and Bold Iris in the Concept Security Premier (1400m).
“Scotch is dropping back from that grade. He fell in the Lightning when he was closing fast. It has taken a while to get him a) fit and b) his confidence (back),” Bary said.
“The full blinkers will help and back up the chute will help where he can stay a bit wide away from the other horses. His work has been very nice.
“Swazi is still doing things a million miles an hour. Hopefully full blinkers will help his confidence.
“It was a great run last start from Bold Iris (for second) and hopefully she can go one better on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Bary is looking forward to his Group One winner Callsign Mav nearing his race return in Australia.
The Atlante six-year-old added the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) to his elite-level record in spring and Bary is hoping he can snare another Group One scalp in the autumn.
“He will go to the jumpouts next Tuesday. Nothing is concrete but he may head to the Orr (Group 1, 1400m) first at Sandown, and I don’t think that track is his style, it might come up a bit quick,” Bary said.