Habana turned in an uncharacteristically below-par effort at his most recent outing and Lance Noble is understandably prepared to give the five-year-old the benefit of the doubt and move on.
The son of Zoustar finished at the back of the field in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) and his Karaka trainer has taken a forgive and forget approach ahead of Saturday's Group 1 BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa.
That representation is no mean feat for Noble, private trainer for Cambridge Stud's Brendan and Jo Lindsay, with 22 horses in work for a season's tally of 16 winners, with four at Group or Listed level.
“We're pretty chuffed and proud of the fact that we've got these horses into these Group races and perform really well when they do get there, so we're hoping they put their hands up again this weekend,” he said.
Habana has contributed with success in the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) and the Listed Fulton Family Stakes (1500m) before he failed to fire in the Thorndon.
“I can only put it down to the track at Trentham, his form on soft ground is good but it was like two tracks that day,” Noble said.
“The inside had been watered and no-one wanted to be there and we drew wide and thought that would be a good place to be.
“He's got a great action and he just didn't want to let down. It was way out of character, he's so honest and consistent. When he's winning, he's got a big stride and I just don't think he felt comfortable in the ground.
“It will be a good track on Saturday and we've freshened him to come back to 1400m and he ran really well when third first-up in the Sweynesse (Group 3, 1200m) at Te Rapa.”
“She's very, very honest and she nearly pulled it off in the Zabeel,” Noble said.
“This field is tougher, but she's a Group Two and Three winner. We're a breeding operation and there's just so much more value added if she can get a Group One next to her name.
“We're very happy with her, a little bit of the sting out of the track would have suited her but she looks great and deserves her place.”
The youngster About Time takes her place in the Fillies' Classic after the American Pharoah filly successfully stepping up to a middle distance in the Group 2 Sir Patrick Hogan Stakes (2050m) for her second win from five attempts.
“She's come a long way pretty quickly and done a great job to get that black type,” Noble said.
“There's a few there that haven't been over 2000m before, and she has. We're very happy with her and this is the next logical step.”