Matamata trainer Jamie Richards said he has no reason not to give even-money favourite Yourdeel his chance to complete his set of domestic Group One two-year-old wins in Saturday's Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni.
Concerns were raised after it was reported Tuesday that stablemate Equinox had the better of the last-start Sistema Stakes winner in training.
However, Richards was satisfied with Yourdeel's trackwork on Thursday and the Dundeel gelding will take his place in Saturday’s field.
"Yourdeel worked well on Thursday morning,” Richards said. “The horse is well. He's had a long season and he'll have a break after Saturday. We've spoken to the owners and it's all go for Saturday. He wouldn't be there if I thought he wasn't going to be competitive.
"It's a concern when they don't gallop as well as they usually do but that's just it - one gallop that wasn't as good as what it normally is. We're not worried."
TAB bookmakers have held firm on Yourdeel's $2 opening quote for their Sires' final field market, even drifting Equinox from $7 to $7.50 in the wake of strong support for the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Holy Mongolemperor ($12 into $9.50) and Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) runner-up Aalaalune ($6 into $5.50).
Exceed And Excel colt Equinox has drawn barrier one and Dundeel gelding Yourdeel barrier five, with Richards hoping to get cover for both youngsters stepping up to 1400m for the first time.
"Equinox did work very well on Tuesday. We just don't want to see any rain for him. He's got a good barrier and hopefully he can settle just in behind the speed and be a good chance," Richards said.
"Yourdeel has drawn well and he'll be ridden in behind the speed. We'd like to get cover for him the first time at 1400m. He drew the outside at Ellerslie and we had to ride him forward in the Sistema all things taken into account."
Meanwhile, Richards is resigned to promising Savabeel stayer Golden Age missing a start in Saturday's Gr.3 Higgins Concrete Manawatu Classic (2000m) as the third emergency.
"He probably should have won his maiden by now, he's had a bit of bad luck on the way through,” Richards said.
“If he had, he'd be in the field and had to be a good chance. We'll probably take him to Pukekohe on Sunday week now for a three-year-old 2100m race."
At Ellerslie, Richards will produce Griffin and Kingsguard, a Gr.3 Hawksbury Cup (1600m) winner in Australia that returns to New Zealand racing in the Electolux Sprint (1200m).
"He's trialled okay and the (co-owner) Windsor Park boys are pretty confident he's better right-handed on his Sydney leg," Richards said. - NZ Racing Desk