Pukekohe trainer Richard Collett had initially planned to head straight to the Group 2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day with talented gelding Super Strike, but he has elected to head to the Auckland track a little sooner with his charge.
Super Strike will contest the Stella Artois 1500 Championship Final (1500m) on Boxing Day after Collett was hesitant whether the four-year-old would gain a start in his initial Group Two target. “We were going to go straight to the Rich Hill Mile with this horse instead of going to this race, but the entries for the Rich Hill don’t go in until Monday and his 80 rating wouldn’t guarantee him a start in the Rich Hill,” Collett said.
“So we had to commit to this Saturday, and I have even entertained putting him in the Rich Hill if he comes through the race well. “The 80 rating is an awkward rating when trying to get into a Group race.”
The son of Super Easy has been in faultless form this preparation, winning three of his four starts, and finishing runner-up in his other assignment. “I am really happy with him. Every run has been fantastic. He has had a really good preparation,” Collett said. “He had a month off before the Counties race where he just got beaten. He went back to the visor blinkers last time and he won nicely.”
Super Strike will jump from barrier two with 60kg on his back and Collett is expecting a good performance on Saturday, with his son-in-law Andrew Calder once again in the saddle. “I expect he will be able to clear and hold a spot maybe three back on the fence, a bit better than his previous runs,” he said. “He had to go back from awkward gates.
“He has got a lot of weight on Saturday, but he comes back in class of horse to the horses that he beat in the open race last start.”
Collett will also contest the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Qualifier 2200 with Sweet Clementine, and Auckland Co-op Taxis 1200 with Ripped.
“Sweet Clementine has a very awkward gate (14),” Collett said. “She had two runs over ground. Her first run over ground at Counties was excellent. Her run last start at Awapuni was a really nice run too, but she just got pocketed in and got stuck in a line further back than she needed to in an on-speed race. “She still got to the line alright. I am not sure how we are going to ride her from the gate.
“Ripped has run really good races in his last two starts over 1400m. He has won over 1200m. We tried him at 1400m and he is a bit of a heavy headed horse at that distance. We have spent a bit of the race trying to get him to relax. We have just decided to bring him back to 1200m.
“It is good company and there will be a lot of speed in the race, which he needs. “He is a pretty smart galloper and he has drawn well in five, which will help. If he gets the right trip, I am expecting he will be pretty close in the finish.”