New Zealand Derby candidates On The Rocks, Xbox, The Mayor and Mongolianconqueror got through their training assignments in pleasing style at Matamata this morning as they prepared for Saturday’s Ellerslie classic.
Galloping on the course proper, where the going was slow 12 metres out, On The Rocks was ridden by his raceday jockey Jake Bayliss as he set off several lengths behind his stablemate Za Za Gabor (Grob), gradually picking up the leeway to finish on terms. The Avondale Guineas winner was timed from the 1200m in 1:18.6, with his last 1000m in 1:05.4 and the final 600m in 37.2.
On The Rocks has trained on well from his last-start win and will strip at peak fitness for his 2400-metre test, while Za Za Gabor, a placegetter in two of her four starts, is an entry for Thursday’s Lowland Stakes at Hastings.
Waikato Guineas winner Xbox (Handley) was paired with Saturday’s Sunline Vase candidate Gold Spice (Coleman) in solid work, timed from the 1200m in 1:19.4, 1:04.5 and 37.1. Both horses hit the line impressively.
The other Derby entry to work on the courser proper was Iffraajinator (A Jones), who went solo in good style over his last 1200m in 1:20.8, 1:07.6 and 38.6. He is unlikely to make the field, however, currently 24th in the starting order.
Waikato Guineas runner-up Mongolianconqueror (McNab) did his work on the plough, which was dead after overnight showers. He went with Sunline Vase entry Gris Dame (Lammas), timed over his last 1200m in 1:19.3 and finishing off with 600m in 36.6.
The Mayor (S Weatherley) went solo in smart work on the plough, cutting out his last 1200m in 1:16.3 and 600m in 36.8. He will be ridden by Sydney-based Rory Hutchings on Saturday.
Others with Ellerslie weekend engagements to work well included Heroic Valour (McNab) and Princess Kereru (Coleman), who matched up in an impressive 1000m in 1:03.1 and 35.9 Amarula (S McKay) and Matuzalem (P McKay) completed 1000m in 1:05.6 and 36.6, while Bridal Veil (Bayliss) and Tenacious (Grob) were well held over the same ground in 1:08.6 and 39.2.
Divine Duke (Yanagida) strode over 1200m in 1:23.6 and 38.7, while Kitaya (Dowling) was let off with 1000m in 1:13.9 and 41.2.
Back on the course proper, Tiptronic (T Johnson) prepared for Ellerslie on Saturday with good work alongside Auckland Cup candidate Wildflower (Handley), timed over their last 1200m in 1:16.5, 1:02.6 and 37.1. Wildflower has continued to thrive in preparation for her big test on Saturday week.
Promising Tavistock filly Le Sablier (Tynan), runner-up in her last two starts and an entry for Thursday’s Lowland Stakes, got through her work well over 1200m in 1:23.2, 1:08.5 and 39.3. Another for Hastings, Ocean Emperor (Grob), was paired with Awapuni Friday entry Ocean Ruler (Fawcett) over 1000m in 1:05.9 and 38.1.