Watch This Space, Our King Sway and Tiptronic looked on target for the feature event at Saturday’s relocated Tauranga meeting when they galloped impressively at Matamata this morning.
Trainer Wayne Hillis put Watch This Space through his paces on the plough, swinging into his work from the 1200-metre mark and being joined by Liquid Inspiration (Danis) for the last 1000m. The full 1200m was cut out in a smart 1:14.8, with the 1000m in 1:00.6 and the final 600m in 36.2.
Watch This Space looks very bright after a brief let-up and will front up in good order to repeat his 2016 win in the Japan Trophy, which will be run this year at Matamata.
Race rival Our King Sway (R Jones) also caught the eye when he and Kitaya (Onley) got through smart work, timed from the 1000m in 1:01.2 and maintaining their momentum for a final section in 35.3. Any forecast rain that might arrive later in the week will aid the Glenn Old-trained gelding’s prospects, while Kitaya appears ready for a bold performance on the weekend.
Although not returning as quick a time, there was also plenty to like about the way Tiptronic (Handley) went about his work in company with Pure Lorde (Hashazumi) over 1200m in 1:21.8, quickening as they went for a final 1000m in 1:05.5 and 600m in 36.4.
Former Hong Kong galloper Jetwings (Yanagida) hinted at a bold fresh-up run on Saturday when he cut out 1000m in 1:02.4 and 600m in 36.2. Last-start Matamata winner Battle Royal (K McQuade) shaped up for a repeat by striding over the last 1200m of his work in 1:19.2, 1:04.4 and 38.
Divine Duke (Yanagida) was also in good form ahead of the weekend as he covered 1200m in 1:21.4, 1:04 and 36.8, while stablemate Inigo Montoya (Bayliss) prepared for Avondale on Friday with 1200m in 1:24.8, 1:06.9 and 38.8.
She’s A Thief (Bayliss) continued her Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes preparation with an easy 1000m hitout in 1:11.4 and 42.2. She has made good progress since her close second in the Matamata Breeders’ Stakes.
On the all-weather track Arraignment (Dowling) and Sunburst (Coleman) drew attention to their weekend prospects as they cut out the last 1000m of their work in 1:02.6 and 600m in 36.4. Arraignment runs in the Japan Trophy, while his stablemate is in Saturday’s Rating 65 2000.