Avantage and Dragon Leap kept themselves right in contention for the Tarzino Trophy when they galloped impressively at Matamata on Tuesday morning ahead of the opening day of the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

Hastings feature race candidates were allowed use of the course proper at the 10-metre mark, where the going was heavy after significant overnight rain.

Avantage (D Johnson) was paired with race rival Savy Yong Blonk (T Harris), travelling up strongly over the final stages of a solid 1200m in 1:17.7. The pair were timed from the 1000m in 1:03 and finished off with a final 600m in 37.4.

The hitout was just what trainer Jamie Richards was looking for after Avantage’s below-par Foxbridge Plate effort and she looks on target to add the Tarzino Trophy to her Group One haul. Savvy Yong Blonk is in good order to kick off her campaign on Saturday.

Dragon Leap (C Grylls) looked ready for a big fresh-up effort when he led race rival Harlech (S Collett) at the end of 1200m in 1:19. After setting off at a steady rate, they picked up the tempo to run 1000m in 1:03.2 and 600m in 37.3. Dragon Leap in particular impressed with the way he completed the gallop.

Prise de Fer (Parma) prepared for the Tarzino with solo work, which he completed readily with a final 600m in 37.4. He appears to have gone on the right way since his Foxbridge Plate placing. Bonny Lass (C Grylls) also galloped on her own ahead of her season debut in the Gold Trail Stakes, cutting out 1000m in 1:05.6 and 600m in 37.3.

Unbeaten filly Imperatriz (D Johnson), the likely Gold Trail favourite, went with El Roca Trophy candidate I Wish I Win (T Harris) over a smart 1000m in 1:04.5 and 37.7. Gold Trail entry Farrenc (Barr), who finished third to Imperatriz and I Wish I Win in the Northland Breeders’ Stakes, hit the line well at the end of her work, with the final 600m in 37.8. Dragon Biscuit (Magee) prepared for the El Roca Trophy with 1000m in 1:09.6, quickening from the 600m in 37.6.

Other course proper gallops took place wide out, where Miss Aotearoa (T Harris) and Feelin’ Fancy (Kamaruddin) caught the eye over 1000m in 1:07.3 and 39.6. Miss Aotearoa goes to Hastings, while her stablemate is set to run at Taupo on Friday.

Aero de Paris (P Singh) was right at home in the conditions as he prepared for Te Aroha on Sunday with 800m in 52.3 and 600m in 38.1. Hastings runners Wolfgang (P McKay) and Bad ‘N’ Bouj (S McKay) worked well over 1000m in 1:08.2 and 39.8, while Brando (D Johnson) and Maasir (Parmar) ran the same trip in 1:09.8 and 40.4.

Vincere (Durrant) had pace on throughout 1000m in 1:05.7 and 40.3. Dark Destroyer (Yanagida) was paired with Sassy Merlot (McCall) over 1000m in 1:08.8 and 39.6. Communique (C Grylls) and Glorified (B Grylls) were timed over their final 600m in 40.2, while stablemate Silverdale Chief (B Grylls) left 1000m behind in 1:09.5 and 41.

Taupo entry Perfectionist (Yuto) came from the 800m in 53.8 and 39.2, Teen Titan (R Cole) took 57 and 41.8, Light Show (S Weatherley) and Mali Stone (D Weatherley) did similar work in 55 and 40.9, while Hovdamer (Newman) recorded 59.7 and 42.4.

Over 1000m Vamos Beebe (D Johnson) returned 1:08.5 and 39.6, Mighty Connor (Pinn) and Iron Eagle (S McKay) 1:11.2 and 41.6, Sophisticardo (C Thornton) and Aotea Lad (R Khan) 1:08.4 and 40.4, and Phantom Witness (Pillay) 1:08.8 and 40.

Iffraajinator (Fawcett) and Pula (Tynan) went over ground and were timed from the 1200m in 1:24, 1:09.4 and 41.7. They were followed by Le Sablier (Leighton), who recorded 1:22.4, 1:07.6 and 40.8. Shambles (Tierney) and a Charm Spirit filly (S Collett) ran their last 800m in 56.4 and 40.8, while Elle Aye Lady (S Collett) finished her work well with 600m in 39.4.

Dennis Ryan