Class gallopers Xtravagant, Heroic Valour and Capella were the centre of attention as their preparations were stepped up at Matamata this morning.
Xtravagant (K Jones) and Heroic Valour (Lammas) worked against the rail in the 11-metre position on the heavy course proper, striding down the back straight before bowling in from the 800-metre mark in 53.9 and hitting the line well held after a final 600m in 39.3.
Dual Group One winner Xtravagant and Heroic Valour, who completed his unbeaten season with victory in the Gr. 1 Diamond Strakes, will kick off their spring campaigns at the Te Teko trials in two weeks’ time. Both Te Akau colts have returned in capital order.
Capella (Dowling) was keen in her work on the all-weather track, where she was timed over 1000m in a deceptive 1:02.2, with her final 600m in 36.9. She too has returned in very good condition for Danica Guy and is also likely to step out at Te Teko ahead of Hawke’s Bay carnival targets.
Horses with more immediate engagements to catch the eye included the Karyn McQuade-trained stablemates Underthemoonlight (Lammas) and Kinda Leica (C Grylls), who prepared for Saturday’s Opunake Cup with bold work on the sand. They were timed over 1200m in 1:15.5, with the last 1000m in 1:01.9 and 600m in 35.8.
Ruakaka weekend runners Sasanof’s Hero (Turner) and Queen Of Navarre (S McKay) were in dashing form on the all-weather track, where they completed 1000m in 1:01.8 and 36.5.
Two more heading north, Vincent Street (Cole) and Jagger (Danis), ran the same distance in 1:03.8 and 36.5, while Canterino (S McKay) and Oblivion (Davidson) returned 1:05.2 and 36.8.
Also on the all-weather track, Amarula (S McKay) enjoyed his work as he ran in from the 800m in 48.9 and 36, while Gentil Tonton (C Grylls) had his training stepped up with 800m in 57.5 and 600m in 42.2.
On the course proper, working right-handed with the markers out 25 metres, Resurrect (C Grylls) and Bugle Call (Shin) were paired over 1200m in 1:28.6 and 600m in 39.8. Resurrect runs at Te Aroha on Sunday, while Bugle Call goes to New Plymouth.
Two more from the Ballymore team, Ruakaka entry Keep On Coming (Coleman) and Sororia (Lammas), a starter at New Plymouth, did similar work over 1200m in 1:29.6 and 39.8. Magic Cannon (M Brosnan) and Jealous Boy (Boyack) were timed over their final 600m in 42.2.
On the sand Master Poet (M Brosnan) completed sound work over 1200m in 1:19.8, 1:04.3 and 37.8. Astrid (K Jones) and Chadsdale (Lammas) went together over 1000m in 1:05.3 and 37.2, while Sherpa (Tait) had pace on when running 800m in 48.8 and 36.2.
Arraignment (Dowling) and Sangreal (Turner) were well held over 1000m in 1:12.9 and 39.8, as was Prize Lad (Coleman) when he covered 1200m in 1:29.8 and 44.6.