Class racemares Melody Belle and Avantage looked on right on target for their weekend clash in the Bonecrusher NZ Stakes when they galloped stylishly at Matamata on Tuesday morning.

Most fast work took place on the course proper, where the going was slow and the markers set at 18 metres.

Avantage (Bosson) was paired with Shebringsmerubies (Kamaruddin) in a solid hitout over 1200m in 1:19.1, with the last 1000m in 1:04.9 and the final 600m in 37.5. Avantage is in very good order to defend her title in Saturday’s weight-for-age feature. Stablemate Melody Belle likewise had her raceday rider Troy Harris in the saddle for solo work over 1000m in 1:07.8 and 600m in 38.8. She has been training very well of late and would not surprise if she bounced back to her best form.

Auckland Cup favourite Sound (T Harris) worked away from the top of the straight, with the pace on from the 1600m when he picked up Bonecrusher Stakes entry On The Rocks (S Collett). They maintained an even ate throughout and were timed over 1200m in 1:19.8, 1:06.2 and 39.6. Sound is well placed in Saturday’s big staying event to go one better than last year’s second placing.

In A Twinkling (Bosson) continued his Auckland Cup preparation with 1200m in 1:19.8, 1:05.5 and 38.2, while Charles Road (Yuto) strode over ground on his way to running 1200m in 1:21.3, 1:06.6 and 39.6.

Sistema Stakes rivals Sword Of State (Bosson) and On The Bubbles (T Harris) cut out a smart 1000m in 1:04.9 and 37.2, with Sword Of State shading his stablemate over the final part. Levante (S Collett) and Savy Yong Blonk (Kamaruddin) worked together ahead of their Royal Descent Stakes match-up, cutting out 1200m in 1:19.2, 1:04.9 and 37.4.

Bonecrusher Stakes entry Paisley Park (Wratten) strode over 1200m in 1:22.6, 1:07.3 and 40.2, and was followed by race rival Tiptronic (S Singh) in 1:21.2, 1:06.3 and 39.8. Germanicus (T Harris) and Jakkalbomb (Leighton) prepared for Ellerslie over 1000m in 1:05.2 and 38.4. Kinshasa (C Cole) and Romantic Lady (Durrant) ran the same distance in 1:05 and 37.8, Summer Monsoon (T Harris) and Equinox (Bosson) 1:05.3 and 37.4, Sailor Jerry (Turner) and Glen Frey (C Grylls) 1:08.4 and 39.6, Exaltation (Durrant) and Remington (Roustoby) 1:07.9 and 39.2, and Jamieson’s Tipple (Turner) and Star Trail (C Grylls) 1:09.8 and 40.2.

Force Of Will (C Grylls) looked ready for her Ellerslie assignment when paired with Pukekohe entry Contribute (S McKay) in a tidy 1000m in 1:07.2 and 38.4. Karalino (C Grylls) and Florentia (Turner) ran the same trip in 1:09 and 39.6, while Brando (Bosson) took 1:06.9 and 39.3, Kahma Lass (T Harris) 1:07.4 and 39.4 and Just Maybe (Wratten) and Poser (S Singh) 1:09.2 and 40.

Last-start Ellerslie winner Tia d’Or (S Collett) worked well with Heart of a Lion Yanagida), completing 1200m in 1:23.2, 1:08.4 and 40.7. Over the same distance Yearn (S Weatherley) returned 1:22.7, 1:07 and 38.8, La Mia Stella (P Brosnan) and Rocket Fuel (K Singh), Imelda Mary (S Weatherley) 1:19.3, 1:04.8 and 38.8, and Pipsqueak Rose (Yanagida) Zaza Gabor (S Collett) 1:19.9, 1:06.3 and 39.4.

Highlighter (Yanagida) and Patch Prince (Osborne) were timed over their last 80m in 51.2 and 37.5.

On the No. 1 sand Ellerslie entry Virtuoso Lad (Tynan) reeled off 1000m in 1:03.6 and 36, while Cavallo Veloce (S McKay) prepared for Trentham with an easy 1000m in 1:09.2 and 37.5.

Dennis Ryan