Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs will mount a double strike on their home-town feature on Saturday having lost what was potentially their best chance of success.
The Ruakaka trainers were keen on the Listed Tavistock Northland Breeders' Stakes (1200m) for Not Usual Trip, but his sale to overseas interests will see them relying on Dashper and Not Usual Heart to fly the stable flag.
The latter is owned by Hongwei Chen and Alex Teng's Horse Feng Bloodstock, who also raced Not Usual Trip. He won races at Ellerslie and at Ruakaka last season and, in between, finished fourth in the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes.
"He's been sold and is going up to Hong Kong," Logan said. "He'd have been in the field otherwise, it looked a good race for him."
However, their remaining two chances aren't to be taken lightly and Dashper improved on a debut fourth to break his maiden on the track last month.
"He's obviously going up against the likes of Prom Queen, but we'll have a go," Logan said.
"He's always showed us quite a lot and we've kept him fresh as we can for this. Hopefully, he can get his foot in the till again."
Not Usual Heart will face a stern test on debut after winning her only trial at Avondale in June.
"It's a big ask, but she has got a decent draw and if she could run a place we'd all be laughing," Logan said.
"We do think a fair bit of her, we haven't put her in just for the sake of it."
- NZ Racing Desk