Trentham focus for Te Akau
Matamata trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards are cooking up a plan to have Beaumarchais ready to take out next month's Gr.2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton.
The training duo will produce four-year-old Beaumarchais in Saturday's Gr.3 Grant Plumbing Thompson Handicap (1600m) at Trentham as a key lead-up to the New Zealand Cup week feature in Christchurch.
|Beaumarchais Photo: Race Images|
"We're throwing him in the deep end a bit this weekend second-up in the Thompson but he's carrying only 53 kilos and we'd like to think he'd be a genuine lightweight chance in the Coupland's," Richards said.
Beaumarchais has won just twice in 10 starts but he finished fourth in last season's Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and second in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) before resuming with a third placing over 1400m at Ruakaka earlier this month.
"He pleased us with his run at Ruakaka. There was a bit of bias towards frontrunners that day, as there can be at Ruakaka, and he was doing his best work on the line from back in running," Richards said.
"He's improved out of that race and the form out of that race has stacked up since with [runner-up] Royal Success winning at Rotorua last Saturday.
"Danielle [Johnson, jockey] came over and galloped him on the course proper on Tuesday and his work was very good. We're just having a go at a couple of good handicap races while he's down in the ratings a bit."
Beaumarchais showed real staying promise as a three-year-old last season but Richards was happy to give him his chance to shine at 1600m through the spring.
"The good ones can stretch out to a distance as a three-year-old but sometimes can't as an older horse so we're just working him out on that score at the moment," Richards said.
"We've had a bit of a hold up with him with the wet spring but we've done plenty with him and he's going very well at the moment. His coat has really turned in the last week."
Autridge and Richards have their team spread far and wide this weekend but Trentham will also be a key focus for two promising youngsters from the stable.
I Am Invincible two-year-old filly Queen Of The Air makes her stakes debut in the Listed Anuka Smoker Wellesley Stakes (1000m) after a fast-finishing Pukekohe second on debut and Savabeel colt Embellish has his final 2000 Guineas leadup in the Hiremaster Premier (1400m).
"Embellish has drawn a bit awkwardly but he'll come in after the emergencies come out. He's got to step up but we think he's going well and his form stacks up," Richards said.
"He's got to win or be unlucky in not winning to get to Riccarton."
"Queen Of The Air is a laid-back filly that's still quite green so we've put blinkers on and she worked strongly in them with Embellish the other morning. It's a small but select field but we think she will go well." - NZ Racing Desk.