Hastings trainers Paul Nelson and Corrina McDougal will take a trio of runners to Riccarton on Saturday, but they are slightly concerned with the heavy track conditions heading into the weekend.
“We are just not too sure about the track. It appears that it is getting worse, it has gone to a Heavy11,” Nelson said.
“I think the rain has gone through, but it will be what damage it has done really.”
No Change will be their first runner of the day in the Racecourse Hotel & Motor Lodge Sydenham Hurdles (3100m) and he heads into Saturday in winning form after taking out the Hawke’s Bay Hurdle (3100m) at Hastings last month.
“Hawke’s Bay suited him, the track (Slow7) was pretty much to his liking,” Nelson said. “He has been a bit long without a run, but hopefully that won’t count against him.”
While the 11-year-old son of Shinko King has won twice on a heavy surface, Nelson would like to see the track improve before Saturday.
“He has won on a heavy track, but it’s been a wet and loose track. He will probably run on Saturday and then we will see after that.”
Nelson holds the same concerns with Zardetto heading into the Yesberg Insurance Services Koral Steeplechase (4250m) on Saturday after he was pulled up in the Wellington Steeplechase (5500m) on the testing Heavy11 track last start.
“He’s been pretty good (since that run), I am just not too sure that we didn’t have a bug go through (the stable),” Nelson said.
“Even though his record hasn’t been huge lately on wet tracks, I thought he would have finished the race alright.”
The 12-year-old gelding pleased his connections in his previous three starts over fences where he placed in the Waikato Steeplechase (3900m) and Hawke’s Bay Steeplechase (4800m) and they elected to travel him south in search of better tracks.
“We thought that we were going to get better tracks and then we made a plan to bring the other horses down,” Nelson said. “They are here and the fields aren’t very strong, so he will run and we will see after that.
“He has won on a heavy track, but probably as he has got older he hasn’t been as keen on them.
“The good thing is that steeplechase track hasn’t been used. We will just have to play it by ear really.
“We’ll see how he goes on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Ooee pleased Nelson with his debut placing over the bigger fences at Te Rapa a fortnight ago and he is hoping the addition of a tongue-tie will assist the gelding on Saturday when he contests the Maneline (NZ) Safety Trackx Raceplates Maiden Steeplechase (3200m).
“He had his first chase the other day and he looked like he was in it and he just struggled a bit from the second-to-last fence,” Nelson said.
“We have put a tongue-tie on him and hope that might help him.
“His best form has been on better ground too, but it is the first race on that track, so we might get away with it.” – NZ Racing Desk