Fully recovered from a gruelling float trip from Southland, don’t be surprised if stablemates Dr Velocious and Tobilicious improve on their first-day performances when they contest the big prizes at Trentham on Saturday.
Dr Velocious and Tobilicious, from the stable of Kelvin and Aimee Tyler, had less than two days to recover from a 22-hour float trip from Riverton to Trentham when they ran at the Wellington track on January 16, so they could be excused if they didn’t run brilliantly.
But with a further two weeks to recover, Kelvin Tyler expects them to be improved on Saturday, when Dr Velocious contests the Group 3 NZCIS Wellington Cup (3200m) and Tobilicious the Group 1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile (1600m).
“They were definitely still getting over the travel, especially Tobilicious, who’s a bit of a thinker,” Tyler said. “They are different horses this time. Both horses haven’t missed an oat since they got here.”
Despite the long float journey, Dr Velocious put in a game run in the Group 3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) two weeks ago, fighting on for third behind Our Hail Mary and Fiscal Fantasy, neither of which are in the Wellington Cup.
The effort didn’t escape the attention of TAB bookies, who have him at $17 for the Wellington Cup. “He’s a proven two-miler, having run fourth in the New Zealand Cup (Group 3, 3200m), and an unlucky fourth in my eyes,” Tyler said. “He’s got quite a bad draw (barrier 16), so I’m not sure what we’re going to do from there. He’s a horse that normally likes to roll forward so it depends on what’s kicking up inside him. Stepping up in distance will really help him.”
Tobilicious has already run one big race at 1600m this season, powering home to finish second to Hypnos in the Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at the New Zealand Cup carnival – just ahead of another Thorndon Mile rival, Communique.
He found the going tougher in the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m), beating just one of his 10 opponents home following that long float trip, but Tyler expects him to be better suited in the Thorndon Mile. “He settles well and has a great finish, but with Melody Belle there, she won’t let us go past in a hurry,” he said. “Realistically, if he gets in the first three we’ll be over the moon, and get a bit of black type for the mare.”
The Tylers, who sit in seventh place in the trainers’ premiership with 23 victories, are also looking forward to the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m), though it’s with City Slicker rather than Dr Velocious.
City Slicker won an open 2000m handicap at Riccarton in November and the 2500m Chalmers Handicap at Trentham in December before finishing 12th of 14 in the Waikouaiti Cup on January 21, a performance Tyler said could be forgiven.
“She was a little bit disappointing last time but the track was too hard for her at Wingatui,” Tyler said. “She’s going to race in the Dunedin Gold Cup on February 6 and we’ll make a decision after that. I hope we can get a Dead 4 for that race.”