Riccarton trainer Michael Pitman will have a six-strong team contest Sunday’s Oamaru race meeting and is expecting track conditions to soften from the Good3 rating on Friday with some rain forecast.
Pitman, who trains in partnership with his son Matthew, will have two runners in the Bracken Print 2YO (1200m) with Chuck A Luck and Where's The Gold both expected to improve from their debut showings in which they finished third and seventh respectively.
“Chuck A Luck lined up the other day without a trial and he went really well and the field was probably stronger than the one he is contesting this weekend,” Pitman said.
“He is a nice horse and will probably make a nicer three-year-old. He is quite tall and has done everything right since that run. He has got to be a big chance and he should probably start favourite or second favourite.
“From the inside draw we would expect Where’s The Gold to go forward and she shouldn’t be far away really.”
Handy seven-year-old Nowhere Man, a half-brother to Where’s The Gold, will represent the stable in the Glenmoa Farms Ltd River Plate (1200m).
“Nowhere Man is honesty personified and is probably stepping up to 1500m at Riccarton after this.
“He hasn’t got a very good draw though (barrier 10), that is the only thing, but he does go his best races when he gets the opportunity to come down the outside of the track.”
Stakes-performed mare Elfee carries 60kgs in the Crombie And Price Ltd Oamaru Cup (1600m) but Pitman believes the 10-race winner deserves the impost as she builds towards the Gr.3 Winning Edge Presentations 122nd Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on August 3.
“The 60kgs is a lot of weight for a mare, but she is the best horse in the race and I understand that. She has to give away 6kgs to virtually half of the field.
“We thought about claiming but we decided she was due for a senior rider.
“She will go to the Winter Cup and run the last day of the National meeting and that will be her swansong. She will make into a beautiful broodmare.”
Pitman said Heartoheart looked to be one of his best chances on the day, while So Brazen would also be competitive.
Meanwhile, Pitman confirmed Group One sprinter Enzo’s Lad would be returning from his English campaign shortly.
“He goes into quarantine this week. He has to have three weeks in quarantine in the UK and then he flies on the same plane as the shuttle stallions.
“He will then do two weeks quarantine in New Zealand.
“He has been staying at the National Stud in Newmarket and has been on the walker each day there.
“He has five weeks off then goes straight into work when he gets here so he isn’t missing too much. He has certainly had an easy winter by New Zealand standards.”
Fellow speedster Sensei is back in work and Pitman has earmarked him as the horse to take him back to Royal Ascot.
“He will get ready for either the Pegasus (Listed, 1000m) or the Stewards (Gr.3, 1200m) on the way to the Telegraph (Gr.1, 1200m).”
After replenishing heavily at the sales, Pitman is looking forward to the coming years with plenty of rising two and three-year-olds coming through.
“I truly believe we have the best team we have ever had in our lives going forward.” – NZ Racing Desk