La Crique looked every bit a worthy Vodafone NZ Derby favourite when she completed her main lead-up gallop at Matamata on Tuesday.

Working solo as usual with Phil Turner in the saddle, La Crique strode into her work on the plough to complete her last 1200m in 1:19.8, 1000m in 1:04 and hitting the line full of running with a final 600m in 35.9. The Katrina and Simon Alexander-trained filly has done everything right since her dominant Avondale Guineas win and will take a power of beating in Saturday’s Ellerslie classic.

A number of La Crique’s male rivals also did good work ahead of the weekend. Avondale Guineas placegetter Arjay’s Flight looked particularly bright when his trainer Mark Brosnan took him over ground on the plough, completing 1200m in 1:20.4, 1:04.6 and 36.8. It was especially good time under a fair weight.

Last-start maiden winner Asterix (S Weatherley) advanced his Derby prospects when paired with Sunline Stakes entry Bigiff (S Singh) over ground. They returned 1:17.8 for the last 1200m, with 1000m in 1:03 and 600m in 36.4.

Ess Vee Are worked on the course proper with Derby rider Sam Weatherley up, accompanied by Bayarmaa (Newman) over 1200m in 1:17.2, 1:03.2 and 36.1. Like all his locally-trained rivals, Ess Vee Are will strip at peak fitness for the big one.

The only others to be timed on the course proper were Ballymore Stables pair Tevere (Lammas) and Sassy Merlot (Yanagida), who worked away steadily to cover 1200m in 1:21.8, quickening from the 1000m in 1:06.9 and completing the last 600m in 37.2. Tevere runs on Saturday in the King’s Plate and Sassy Merlot in the Mufhasa Plate.

Back on the plough, Sword of State (Parmar) and On The Bubbles (Bosson), respective candidates for the same two races, looked sharp over 1000m in 1:03.2 and 36.2, while Dark Destroyer (S Weatherley) shaped up for the Mufhasa Stakes in company with Ellerslie Rating 65 1400m entry Dancarina (Gujar) over 1000m in 1:04 and 36.3.

Bonny Lass (S Singh) impressed in her Mufhasa Stakes preparation as she cut out a solo 1000m in 1:06.4 and 36.4. Glory Bound (S Weatherley) hit out strongly ahead of the Sunline Vase when paired with The Actress (B Grylls) over 1200m in 1:16.2, 1:00.8 and 35.6. Race rival Belle En Rouge (T Harris) went with Ellerslie R74 1600m entry Aquaoir (Newman) over 1200m in 1:19.8, 1:04 and 37.6.

Melbourne-bound Levante (Lammas) was allowed an easy 1000m in 1:10.5 and 40.5. She looks very bright ahead of her Newmarket Handicap mission on Saturday week. Maria Farina (S Weatherley) and Classic Beethoven (Dowling) had more pace on over the same distance in 1:03 and 36.5, as did Nossenko (T Harris) and Image Of You (Kamaruddin) in 1:03.6 and 36.3. I Wish I Win (Bosson) looked very bright in his work over 1000m in 1:03.6 and 36.8.

Red Hussar (S Singh) and North Of Havana (Wratten) took 1:04.8 and 36.4 over 1000m, Perfect Scenario (Roustoby) recorded 1:03.8 and 36.8, and Stop All The Clocks (P Turner) 1:06.6 and 37.8. Star Treasure (Pratap) strode over 1200m in 1:23.4, 1:08.2 and 39.4, Ange De Reve (Gujar) and Romantic Lady (Kamaruddin) were timed from the 800m in 49.8 and 36.4, while in solo gallops Aotea Lad (Roustoby) and Prise De Fer (Bosson) both ran the last 600m of their work in 37.5.

Dennis Ryan