Leading Vodafone Derby prospects Rocket Spade and Tokorangi looked the part at Matamata on Tuesday in their main work ahead of this weekend’s classic.
Rocket Spade (C Grylls) was paired with race rival Perfect Scenario (Bosson) on the plough, where they set off over ground before quickening from the 1400m mark and were timed from the 1200m in 1:16.8, with the last 1000m in 1:02.5 and 600m in 36.3. Rocket Spade has done everything right since his Avondale Guineas win, while Perfect Scenario has also trained on well from his Waikato Guineas placing.
Tokorangi worked on the course proper, where the going was dead 20m out. The Waikato Guineas winner, ridden by raceday rider Andrew Calder, was paired with Derby rival Grip (Yanagida). After setting off from the top of the straight they built momentum to run 1200m in 1:17.9, finishing off with 1000m in 1:03.6 and the final 600m in 37.4. Tokorangi led her stablemate over the final stages, running right through the line in what was impressive work.
Ballymore’s Auckland Cup favourite Sound also worked on the course proper with big race rider Troy Harris up, striding over ground and timed from the 1200m in 1:25.6, 1:11 and 40.6. He is a happy horse after finishing second in the Avondale Cup.
Back on the plough, Amarelinha (Bosson) and Markus Aurelius (T Harris) impressed ahead of the weekend over 1200m in 1:21.2, quickening from the 1000m in 1:04 and 37.5. Amarelinha is in excellent order for the Sunline Vase, while Markus Aurelius will be chasing a hat-trick in a benchmark 1600m on the weekend. Needle And Thread (C Grylls), a rival for Amarelinha in the Sunline Vase, went with Awapuni Saturday entry Florentia (P Turner) over 1200m in 1:19.3, picking up momentum for a final 1000m in 1:02.1 and 600m in 35.8.
Ellerslie candidates Les Crayeres (Winter) and Wild West (McCall) were also in good form as they cut out 1000m in 1:02.4 and 36.2. Mufhasa Stakes rivals Need I Say More (Bosson) and Cornflower Blue (Durrant) ran the same trip in 1:01.8 and 36.3, and My Tai (Roustoby) took 1:02.4 and 36.5.
Ellerslie feature sprint candidate Spring Heat (Yuto) cut out 1000m in 1:02.7 and 36.4, while race rival Summer Passage (Osborne) ran the same distance in 1:04.2 and 35.8, and Entriviere (D Johnson) also looked good recording 1:01.8 and 35.8.
Sunline Vase entry Aquaoir (S Collett) was timed over 1000m in 1:04.6 and 38, while race rival Carolina Reaper (K Singh) went with Poser (Wratten) over 1200m in 1:22, 1:05.4 and 38.2. Chia Siu Bao (Yanagida) and Patch Prince (Osborne) were paired in smart work over 1000m in 1:01.8 and 36.5, Festivity (T Harris) ran the same trip in 1:02.3 and 35.8, Jamieson’s Tipple (P Turner) and Star Trail (C Grylls) took 1:05.9 and 36.7, and Waipapa (T Harris) 1:05.9 and 36.8.
Kinshasa (C Cole) was allowed easy work, striding over 1000m in 1:09.6 and 41.2, as was Force Of Will (Osborne) over 1200m in 1:27.4 and 40.2. Awapuni entries Leaderboard (Parma) and Aotea Lad (Roustoby) covered 1200m in 1:18.8, 1:04.2 and 36. Side Hustle (Miles) ran an easy 1000m in 1:12.2 and 42.6, and Self Made (Danis) followed in 1:12 and 43.8.
On the No. 1 sand Bad ‘N’ Bouj (S McKay) and The Mitigator (P McKay) took 1:04.6 for 1000m, finishing off with a 35.8 final section. Up And Gone (Fawcett) and Iron Eagle (S McKay) ran the same distance in 1:08.9 and 39.6.