In the lead-up to the Group 3 Coupland's Bakeries Mile (1600m), the mare It's Business Time is creating quite a buzz as the -117.65 favourite for the Coupland's Bakeries Mile Trial (1400m) at Riccarton this Saturday.
Racing under the colours of her breeder Windsor Park Stud, this daughter of Turn Me Loose has certainly left a mark, securing victory in five out of her eight starts thus far.
Remarkably, she began her five-year-old season in splendid fashion, competing in two 1200m sprints at Riccarton and triumphing with a three-length and a four-and-a-half-length margin, respectively.
Sam Bergerson, who co-trains with Mark Walker, expressed his pleasant surprise, stating, “She's sort of surprised us a little bit. We thought 1200m might be a bit short of her best distance first-up, and then again in her second run. But she just keeps stepping up and stepping up. She's matured into an absolutely lovely horse in this campaign.”
With her impressive form, the anticipation is high, and she is expected to perform well in the upcoming race.
Bergerson further added, “Going up to 1400m third-up should be ideal, and then we're hoping that she'll be peaking for the Coupland's Mile on the middle day of the carnival. That's the plan, and we've been extremely happy with how her campaign has gone so far.”
It's Business Time currently leads the market for the Coupland's Bakeries Mile at +200, with other notable contenders including Diss Is Dramatic (+350), Desert Lightning (+700), and defending champion He's A Doozy (+700).
In addition to It's Business Time, Walker and Bergerson's team at Riccarton on Saturday includes Trobriand, competing in the Group 3 War Decree Stakes (1600m).
Trobriand, the winner of the Group 2 Eclipse Stakes as a two-year-old, resumed with a third-place finish in the Group 3 Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m) at Ruakaka.
He then achieved an impressive come-from-behind victory in the Guineas Trial (1400m) on September 30.
Trobriand is currently rated as an +700 chance for the Guineas, sharing second favoritism with Lantern Way, a rival in the War Decree Stakes.
“We've been really happy with the way this horse has settled in down here,” Bergerson mentioned.
“He won very nicely in his first South Island run. The team was thrilled with his work on Tuesday; he worked absolutely super. I think we're going to know a lot more after this race.
“It looks like quite an even field, and it's good to see some North Island form down here with Lisa Latta and Stephen Marsh's horses (Lantern Way and Burn To Shine).
“He's drawn a little awkwardly in gate 12, so we'll probably look to ride him back again and try to get him to settle. Stepping up to the mile should suit, and we think he can be competitive.”
Furthermore, Walker and Bergerson will have a strong presence at Pukekohe, featuring the first-up winner Petrucci.
“She's a mare that we've always had a good opinion of,” Bergerson noted.
“She's another one who's really matured into a lovely mare this season. She's gone the right way since that very good first-up win.
“She worked really well on Tuesday and gets in with a nice, light weight. It's a field that's a little bit light on numbers, and she should get a good run from her inside gate. It looks a nice race for her.”
Finally, the Ace High filly, My Lips Are Sealed, will face a formidable challenge as she steps up into stakes class in the Group 2 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).
Despite a stylish first-up victory at Avondale, she finished sixth in her last outing at Tauranga.
Bergerson commented on the challenge, “She's thrown in at the deep end here against a very strong field. It's looking like it'll be a good track – we might have hoped for a little bit of rain for her.
“She hasn't drawn an ideal barrier (gate 14), so we'll look to ride her back, and she's probably going to need a bit of luck. She's another one that we'll know a lot more about after this weekend.”