Trainers still weighing up Trentham option

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Johno Benner and Hollie Wynyard will decide on race morning if they take their full complement of runners to on Saturday.

The Otaki trainers will run the promising and future cups contender Dalmatia, but are in two minds whether smart two-year-old Dapper will take his place in the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m).

The Shooting To Win youngster has trained on well since his last appearance and in fine fettle if called upon.

“All three are going really well, it's never easy to win on the bigger days though,” Benner said.

“Dapper has improved out of sight, but I'm not completely sure if we will run him and we'll sleep on it before deciding on Saturday morning whether he goes.

“The Karaka Million (1200m) is the goal and he's a really nice colt and going the right way. The other option is to run him at in a couple of weeks.”

Dapper was purchased out of breeder Tony Rider's Milan Park draft at New Zealand Bloodstock's National Yearling Sale earlier this year by owner Gary Harding for $150,000.

He is a half-brother to the Listed Lightning Handicap (1200m) winner with their dam Brianna successful in the Listed Counties Bowl (1100m) and third in the Group 1 (1200m).

Dapper has made his last two appearances on his home track and was a smart winner in September before finishing a gallant runner-up last month.

Strides is another gifted customer who will take on his own age group in the Cambridge Stud Premier (1400m).

The Spieth three-year-old turned in creditable performances in his first three outing before he overcame a slow start to steam home for an impressive victory against older opposition at Otaki.

“He's putting it all together and they don't win like that if they're no good,” Benner said.

“If he can back that up with another good performance on Saturday it would be nice.

“We might look at the Guineas (Group 2, 1400m) on January 14 and he's eligible for the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) after that.”

Also raced by Harding, Strides was a $120,000 buy at Karaka where he was offered by Lansdowne Park and is out of a half-sister to the Group 1 Western (2400m) winner Dreamaway.

“He is a horse that we have got a lot of time for, he's just taken a little while to piece it altogether and he's got plenty of ability,” Benner said.

So too has the stable's Platinum Homes Taranaki Chalmers Handicap (2500m) contender Dalmatia.

“He's tough and some stickability and the ultimate goal with him is the (Group 3, 3200m) on January 28,” Benner said.

“Saturday's race looks a nice one for where we are heading with him and I'm sure he'll go really well.”

Dalmatia, who also holds a nomination for the Group 2 Barfoot & Thompson (3200m), has won three of his 20 starts and produced a strong front-running performance to triumph last time out at Tauherenikau.

“He's by Zed and they take a bit of time and he's pretty physical now, he looks a picture,” Benner said.

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