Racing Hall of Famer Lance O'Sullivan will take aim at another Group One prize this weekend but without any great feeling of expectation.
The Matamata trainer has talented Myboycharlie mare Karman Line entered for Saturday's Group 1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1600m) at Pukekohe, knowing that if the four-year-old brought her best form she would be competitive.
However, while happy with Karman Line leading into the race, O'Sullivan isn't convinced she's at the top of her game.
“It's a bit of a throw at the stumps. We think she's better than what she's going,” said O'Sullivan, who trains in partnership with Andrew Scott.
“We've given her four weeks between runs. We had the option of backing her up two weeks after her last run or wait another two weeks for the Group One and that's what we've done.
“She's a mare that's capable of winning a big race but it's just a matter of getting the right recipe to do it.”
Karman Line has just won once in nine starts but her five minor placings including third-place finishes in last season's Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie and in the Royal Descent Stakes (1600m) at Pukekohe last start.
“We're taking her on trust that she can recapture what we think she's capable of doing,” O'Sullivan said.
“It's a valuable fillies and mares' Group One and if she could run third, it would be a huge result for her status. Mustang Valley is in there of course but there's no Levante or Imperatriz. A lot of the good ones have gone or been to Australia or gone to the paddock so we're having a crack.”
O'Sullivan said Karman Line would determine her own future with her performance on Saturday.
“If she performs well, she might be on a flight to Brisbane but we just don't know. This will be the big test and she'll decide whether she's going on to something bigger and better or whether she's back to her own grade,” he said.
O'Sullivan and Scott already have Dragon Leap and Waitak safely landed and settled into new lodgings in Brisbane ahead of upcoming campaigns there.
“They arrived in Sydney on Tuesday night and travelled up to Brisbane on Wednesday and they've both travelled well and arrived safe and sound and are into their feed and water so that's a good sign,” O'Sullivan said.
Waitak will step out first in Saturday week's Listed Daybreak Lover (1400m), a race stablemate Dark Destroyer used to kick off his Brisbane campaign last year before finishing second in the Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m), winning the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2143m) and finishing fourth in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
“If he's going well, we'll have a look at the Derby. That's what Dark Destroyer did but Waitak has got to show us he can cope with it the same way,” O'Sullivan said.
Dragon Leap will start off over 1200m in the coming weeks before building up to a possible tilt at the $3 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 10.
“Hopefully he's going well enough to warrant running in the big sprints,” O'Sullivan said.
“We haven't done a lot with him this season but he's come right so we thought we'd get him over there.”
Meanwhile, Asterix has returned home after his unplaced run in last Saturday's Group 2 Chairman's Handicap (2600m) at Randwick and will spell ahead of spring racing next season.