Stablemates Markus Aurelius and Mai Tai shaped up well for feature weekend assignments when galloping at Matamata on Tuesday morning.

On the plough, Manco Easter Handicap candidate Markus Aurelius (Bosson) was paired with Awapuni entry Shebringsmerubies (Kamaruddin) over 1200m in 1:18.1, with the last 1000m in 1:02.8 and the final 600m in 36.2. Markus Aurelius has won his last four starts, the most recent over the same trip as the Easter, and is in excellent order for Saturday.

Mai Tai (Roustoby) was keen in the early stages of her work over 1200m in 1:16.5, finishing off with 1000m in 1:02.5 and 600m in 36.4. Jamie Richards has her also entered for the Easter but she is more likely to run in the Anzac Mile at Awapuni on Sunday.

Easter Handicap entries Cha Siu Bao (Yuto) and Red Hussar (K Singh) worked right-handed on the course proper, where the going 15 metres out was dead, cutting out 1200m in 1:20.9 and the final 600m in 38.2. Red Hussar also holds an entry for the Awapuni feature.

Maison Roxanne (J Ritchie) worked over the same ground in 1:24.6 and 37.2, while stablemate and fellow Awapuni entry Naval Fleet (J Ritchie) began more quietly to record 1:27.8 and 38.5. Ali Baba (Dellow) continued his preparation towards jumps racing with even work over 1200m in 1:20.2 and 40.6.

Back on the plough, Ellerslie entry Highlighter (Yanagida) looked ready to go one better than her last-start second when galloping solo over 1000m in 1:02 and 36.5. Rocket Fuel (Wratten) and Ali Arc (S Singh) also drew attention to their weekend prospects with 1000m in 1:04 and 35.8. Over the same distance Princess Rihana (Yuto) took 1:04.5 and 37.8, Rhapsody Blue (D Johnson) 1:06.8 and 38.5, Kings Lady (S Weatherley) and Farrenc (Barr) 1:06.3 and 37.5, and No Limits (Bosson) and Lightning Field (Parmar) 1:08.8 and 40.3.

Ellerslie entry Voler Pour Moi (Yanagida) wasted no time over 1200m in 1:15.2, 1:02 and 36.6, Master Willie (Yanagida) worked well over the same ground in 1:17.1, 1:02.8 and 36.4, Hakuna Matata (Danis) and Nothinsweetaboutme (Leighton) took 1:16.8, 1:03 and 37.2.

Radegast (Bosson) prepared for Ellerslie over 1200m in 1:19.6, 1:03.6 and 37.2, while Queensland-bound Tiptronic (S Singh) was never at top over the last 1200m of his work in 1:23.9, 1:08.6 and 40.6.  Supreme Heights (M Brosnan) stepped up in her work with 800m in 51.4 and 37, and over the same ground Aromatic (D Johnson) took 55.5 and 40.2.

On the No. 1 sand, Awapuni entry Roll The Gold (Kumar) was timed from the 800m in 52 and 37.4, while Shoshone (S Collett) left 1000m behind in 1:08.2 and 39.8.

Dennis Ryan