Awapuni trainer Peter Didham could line-up three stakes contenders at Trentham on Saturday, the first day of the Wellington Cup Carnival.
Juvenile filly Kana has already qualified for next week’s DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) but Didham has elected to test her talents closer to home before deciding whether he will head north to Ellerslie with his charge.
The daughter of Tivaci will line-up in the Listed IRT Wellesley Stakes (1100m) and Didham is hoping she can continue her faultless form line in the two-year-old Trentham feature.
“She has been excellent,” Didham said. “She has had three trials for three wins and she won nicely in her maiden start.
“She had a week off after that and we have taken her quietly and have decided to go to the Wellesley.
“I expect her to run well on the nice track down there at Wellington. It is a good steppingstone for her for the future.”
A NZD$65,000 purchase by Exempt Bloodstock out of Landsdowne Park’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft, Kana is currently eighth in order of entry for the Karaka Million 2YO on January 22 and Didham said she could very well back-up in the NZD$1 million race a week later.
“We haven’t ruled the Millions out,” Didham said. “We will run on Saturday and see what happens. It is probably 50-50, but we have chosen to go the Wellesley way.
“I just worry about not going this week and then drawing wide (in the Karaka Million). There are quite a few negatives against her compared to a lot of the northern two-year-olds so we are just keeping our options open with her.”
Didham is also looking forward to backing up House Of Cartier in the Group 3 Mode Technology Trentham Stakes (2100m) after she returned to form when runner-up in the Listed Marton Cup (2200m) at Awapuni on Saturday.
She beat just one runner home in her previous start in the Group 1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and Didham said he wanted to prove that her subpar performance was down to circumstance.
“She got pushed and shoved, and she got upset and put her head up and never raced genuinely,” he said.
“I had to prove to myself that she was still going as well as I thought she was and that is why she ran last week with the big weight. She only missed by a neck; it was a huge effort.
“She will drop a lot of weight this week and we will just take it quietly. We are not guaranteed a run.
“She has to prove to me during the week that she feels 100 percent, like she did last week.”
Didham is planning a return to Ellerslie in the autumn to test his mare over further ground.
“The main target has been the Auckland Cup (Group 2, 3200m),” he said.
“I think she will run the two miles all day. She was the last one to pull up again on Saturday and she does that quite often. She has placed over 2500m in Australia, and she will get into the Auckland Cup with a good weight.
“If we can get the mileage into her and get her there in good order, we would like to have a go.”
Didham could have three stakes contenders at Trentham on Saturday, with Cavani set to line-up in the Group 2 Life Direct Wellington Guineas (1400m).
“Cavani is out of his depth, but it’s a NZD$110,000 stakes race,” Didham said.
“Bill (Gleeson) and I own him. We can have a throw at the stumps if we want. We just wanted to see what the size of the field was and how strong it was. We will decide in the next couple of days (whether he starts).
“We have got a couple of interested parties looking at him and if that doesn’t pay off we might run him. We can also go back to his own class after that.”
Didham will also head south with British Royalty, who will contest the Fusion Electrical Premier (1200m).
“She was very unlucky last start,” he said. “She deserves a run down that straight with good stake money, so we will have a go.”