Carl Henderson is viewing a trip to New Plymouth on Saturday with stakes performer Jodelin Gal as a means to a Group One end.
The Te Awamutu trainer will run his talented and genuine daughter of Swiss Ace in the Steel & Tube Fortress Fasteners Open (1300m) in the hope a perfect winning outcome will secure a crack at a major prize.
“I'd love to get a few more rating points for her and then we should be guaranteed a start in the Tarzino,” he said.
“That's always been her main aim and it's just a bit of a back-door way of getting into the race really. She is fit and ready to go and Erin Leighton will ride her.”
Jodelin Gal won an open handicap at Hawke's Bay before she ran third in the Listed Tauranga Classic (1400m) and didn't help her cause when slowly away last time out in the Winter Championship Series Final (1400m) before making ground along the fence for fifth.
“She's very well and she had a couple of weeks off after Ruakaka and the 1300m will suit her on Saturday,” Henderson said.
“The wet ground obviously doesn't inspire me too much, but she can get through it and I'm happy with her.”
Stablemate Rua Rocks will also head south for the ITM Interprovincial Championship (1600m).
He has only won two races, but has a string of placings to his credit including a third in the Kiwifruit Cup (2100m) before an uncharacteristic effort when well back in the Whangarei Gold Cup Stayers' Final (2100m).
“He's very genuine and his last start at Ruakaka was a bit of an anomaly and I don't really know what went on there,” Henderson said.
“He'd had a couple of hard runs on testing tracks before that so maybe the edge was taken off him a bit.
“Apart from that, in his previous 10 starts he was in the first three so I always enjoy taking him to the races.”
Henderson acknowledged Rua Rocks won't have it easy on Saturday, but options were limited for the half-brother by El Roca to stakes winners Sworn To Secrecy and Guns At Five.
“There's not a lot else around for him and he's ready to go again. It's not the ideal race for him, he's out of his grade again but he could sneak into the money,” he said.
“He loves his job and his work yesterday was fantastic so he's going to be a chance. He's not a world beater by any means, but he's a proper racehorse and tries so hard every time.”
Henderson will also be closely following the fortunes at New Plymouth of the in-form Per Incanto mare Charlotte Amalie in the Nelson Pine LVL (1600m).
“Mark Irwin trains her and I own part of her and she's going pretty well. She ran fourth last Saturday and won the start before at Avondale so she's going to be a fair chance,” he said.
Meanwhile, the former Henderson-trained Belthil left New Zealand this week to begin the next phase of his career in Victoria.
“He's been sold to OTI Racing and arrived in Australia on Wednesday. He will be trained by Andrew Bobbin (at Stawell),” Henderson said.
“The money was good and it's a good place for him to be. Ben Kwok had bought him about six months ago and what he turned him over for was great business, that's what it's all about.”
Belthil did well to run fourth for Henderson in his two-year-old debut at Avondale last season after missing the kick.
The son of Telperion then finished runner-up to subsequent Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) winner Pacific Dragon in the 2YO Winter Championship Final (1200m) at Ruakaka.
“There's always more coming through, that's all part of the job. I've got half a-dozen racehorses and a few young ones as well in the system and we're doing nine for the Inglis Ready2Race Sale in October.”
They will be sold under the Leanach Lodge banner and includes a half-brother by All Too Hard to multiple winner and last-start Lion City Cup (1200m) runner-up King Arthur.