Andrew Forsman will be hoping gifted two-year-old Ethereal Star can deliver a winning top-flight lead on Saturday for her older stablemate Mustang Valley to follow.
The Cambridge trainer will be represented by the youngster in the Group 1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Pukekohe while four-year-old mare Mustang Valley will take her place the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill.
Ethereal Star has both impressed and pleasantly surprised connections this season with her debut second followed by victory in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1100m) and a most recent runner-up finish in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m).
“Right the way through, we didn't necessarily think she would do what she has. I always thought she might make a nice autumn two-year-old and set her up to peak in the spring as a three-year-old,” Forsman said.
“What she has done is down to natural ability and we've nursed her along as best as we can.
“She trialled really well the other day and now it's up to her and hopefully she's got one more really good run in her.”
Ethereal Star tuned up for the weekend at the recent Avondale trials where the daughter of Snitzel finished second in an 800m heat.
“We're really happy with her and have only done what we had to. This could be her last run this preparation, we'll just see what happens on Saturday,” Forsman said.
“There's some valuable Group One black type up for grabs and hopefully she can get some of it.”
Forsman thought long and hard about Mustang Valley's participation in the Coolmore before confirming a start from a wide alley on a likely Good 4 surface.
“She'll go back from the draw (11) but there looks to be a bit of speed in the race,” Forsman said.
“She's going to need some luck and if she gets a drag into it at the right time then I'm sure she'll be competitive.”
“She was really good and we couldn't be happier. She was held up for a run and couldn't get out when she needed to,” Forsman said.
Meanwhile, The Intimidator showed he was firmly on track for the Group 1 Levin Classic (1600m) with a gallant last start win in the Listed Mufhasa Stakes (1400m).
“He got a little bit above himself at Te Rapa and while he got a soft enough time in front, he didn't go overly quick and was racing quite fiercely so he'll improve a heap,” he said.
“I just loved how strong he was through the line and he'll go to Trentham on Saturday week.
“It's a hard mile to run out there, but I'm sure he will jump and put himself right there and should get his chance.”