The Richard Collett-trained Mercy Hill is a good chance of making it three successive victories when she contests the Rating 82 Bruce Amies Pharmacy Governor General's Cup (1600m) at Avondale on Thursday.
The four-year-old mare has been installed a $2.60 favorite for the Anzac Day assignment and has won her past two starts over a mile at Counties and Avondale respectively.
“The way she has won her last couple in that sort of company, she probably looks well-placed,” Collett said.
“We would have been keen to take her to a Saturday mile race, but the ones in her grade are on left-handed tracks at the moment.
“She had a little problem, before she raced, with a chip on a fetlock. She has had a couple of goes running left handed, including the Warstep Stakes (Listed, 2000m), and failed badly. That is why we have to try and keep her to racing right-handed.
“Her form has come good this prep, but we are just taking it one race at a time.
“She is super hard and fit and we will see what she does tomorrow. We have been lucky that the weather has been kind. She won’t act much on a track rated worse than a slow7, so she is getting pretty much towards the end of her preparation.”
“Next preparation, if placed correctly, she could gain some black-type. She has only really learned to race properly this preparation.”
Collett will have a further two runners on the card at Avondale, including four-year-old staying prospect Hvar, who will be having his second start back from a break, as well as two-win galloper Alternative Fact.
“Hvar’s drawn well in a nice field and found the line well last start over 1400m fresh and could do the same again tomorrow,” Collett said.
“I would be pleasantly surprised if he could win at 1600m. Over ground, after that, I would be more confident.
“Alternative Fact is in a race that she is capable of going close in if she gets a decent trip from the draw (barrier 9). Ideally she could get in and be a couple of lengths off them with cover.”
Meanwhile, the Pukekohe trainer is assessing his options with Azaboy, who ran out a ready winner at Rotorua on Monday.
“I am just keeping an eye on what the weather does,” Collett said.
“Because he won at Rotorua, if it didn’t get too testing there in three weeks’ time we’d go back. Otherwise if the ground does just get a bit beyond him, I’d look at putting him on a plane and taking him to Sydney.
“I don’t think there are a lot of good options with the really heavy tracks in New Zealand in winter and he is at a good stage of his preparation where we need to look at doing something while he has got no weight on his back from the handicapper.” – NZ Racing Desk