Dragon Queen and Catwalk Girl looked the part for Tauranga on Saturday when they galloped impressively at Matamata on Tuesday morning.
Most fast work took place on the outside of the course proper, which was heavy after considerable rain over the previous 36 hours.
Dragon Queen (Lammas) and Catwalk Girl (Yanagida) acquitted themselves well over 1000m in 1:08.4 and 600m in 39.5, particularly good going late in the session when the ground was at its worst. Dragon Queen continues to look well and takes a strong formline into her weekend assignment in the Japan Trophy, while her lesser-rated stablemate appears ready to produce her best form.
Earlier in the session, in-form pair Nossenko (T Harris) and La Flora Bella (Durrant) caught the eye with smart work over 1000m, cutting out the distance in 1:07.4 and maintaining their momentum for a final 600m in 40.2. The Jamie Richards-trained duo both appear to have trained on well from their last-start wins.
Their stablemates Prise de Fer and Brando also got through solo work in good style ahead of the Japan Trophy. Prise de Fer, who returned to form at his last start, looked ready to go on with it when cutting out 1000m in 1:08.9 and 39.2, while Brando (Parmar) also looked bright getting through an easier task over the same ground in 1:11.4 and 42.3.
Summer star Mali Ston (Dowling) continued his preparation for autumn racing when paired with Marina Farina (S Weatherley) over 1000m in 1:09.2 and 40.6. Mali Ston looks very well after a let-up and may run at Tauranga in the Japan Trophy.
Canadia Girl (Fawcett) and North of Havana (S Singh) finished their work well after 1000m in 1:12.9 and 40.2, while Lightning Field (Suman) returned 1:10.8 and 39.6, Sophisticardo (Kamaruddin) 1:09.2 and 39.4, Summer Passage (Pratap) 1:14.8 and 40.4, and Millefiori (Kamaruddin) and Ange de Reve (Amit) 1:09.4 and 39.2.
Soprano Supreme (M Grylls) got through her work over ground, completing 1200m in 1:23.2, 1000m in 1:08 and the final 600m in 39.5. Also the same ground Bak da Master (Roustoby) rolled into his work to return 1:27.8, 1:10.6 and 41.2.
On the Rocks (Lammas) and Keep It Loose (Yanagida) went together over 1000m in 1:11.6 and 40.4, while Pure Imagination (Parmar) and Supreme Khan(Roshan) returned 1:14.3, quickening for a final 600m in 39.8. Petrachor (Yanagida) and Myrtle Creek (Lammas) were timed over the same distance in 1:10.6 and 40.2. Hard Nose (Tierney) and Hawera juvenile entry Iff I Get Paid (Durrant) ran in from the 800m in 58.6 and 42.
On the No. 2 sand Seafoam (Cox) cut out 1000m in 1:07, quickening impressively for a final 600m in 36.7. Novashow (S Weatherley) did similar work to clock 1:07.8 and 37.4, while Ozark (Pratap) strode over ground, with his last 1200m in 1:23.4, 1:08.9 and 39.6.