The NZ Derby and Auckland Cup runners might have been missing at the breakfast with the stars-type Ellerslie session yesterday, but support players kicked in.
Rollout The Carpet, Shuka and Supercalifragilistic provided sparkling efforts as the Ellerslie carnival heads towards its opening with the $750,000 TV3 Derby on Saturday.
Rollout The Carpet was making her first public appearance since beating Waterford and Fix in the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in November.
The classy filly galloped with smart stablemate Anakela, clocking the fastest 600m final section in 34.5. She was galloping strongly towards the finish.
Sprinter Shuka was not out to run a fast time, but was working soundly in front of 3-year-old filly Chandalier after 1400m, the final 600m in 36.2.
Trainers Peter and Dawn Williams intend stepping Shuka up to 2000m in the New Zealand Stakes on the final day of the carnival on Saturday week. He looks a fit horse.
The Williams are hoping Chandalier's form will justify looking at the New Zealand Oaks.
Supercalifragilistic and Templeton were going well a couple of lengths clear of an unraced maiden after covering the last 600m in 35.23. Supercalifragilistic was an impressive winner on debut and will race in either the R65 1200m on the middle day next Wednesday or in the special conditions 1400m on the final day on Saturday week. Templeton will take on the R85, 1600m on Saturday.
He rates as racing's latest jack-in-the-box because no one can determine what will bounce out of the box each raceday. He looks like an Auckland Cup winner one day and a lowly maiden the next.
Co-trainer Scott Lucock is resigned to simply accepting he has little control over what the horse produces.
"He's probably going to be the best horse I've ever trained that won't make it to open company.
"Mickey Walker rode him work the other morning and said: 'I'm pleased I had a ride before raceday on him because he's got a couple of tricks'.
"I said: 'He's got a hell of a lot more than a couple of tricks'. He's always had bags full of them."
That said, Lucock is pleased with the horse.
"He got hurt in the City Of Auckland Cup and he's come back from a break probably the best I've ever had him. He could win on Saturday, but he could run last, too."
Heza Karma Karzi, looking burly as usual after a break, clocked 36.06 for the last 600m of his work with stablemate Puhi Puhi.
Two-year-old Colours, who will run on the middle day, impressed with the way he was working inside stablemate Ekraar Superior, clocking 35 for their final 600m.
The Ellerslie track was in magnificent order yesterday morning, senior riders Mark Du Plessis and Mark Sweeney both declaring it slightly yielding and "perfect".By Mike Dillon Email Mike