Kevin Chapman says he has the right horse to go to war with.
The biggest battle of that war could be the $750,000 New Zealand Cup in November.
Chapman owns and trains Locharburn, who defied favourite Smolda to win the $100,000 Easter Cup at Addington on Saturday night. It was the richest win in his injury-plagued career since the NZ Derby two years ago, after which suspensory damage had vets telling Chapman his star wouldn't race again.
But Locharburn is not only back, he looks a realistic threat to the near total dominance of the All Stars stable, with both his career group one successes coming over Purdon-Rasmussen trained runners.
"It is like a war taking them on because they are so dominant," says Chapman.
"And without taking anything away from them, I think it is good for the industry for a smaller trainer like me to have a horse like this."
Chapman has been left lamenting the lack of open class racing in the next six months, with even the next most logical race for Locharburn, the Rangiora Classic on April 24, reduced from $50,000 to $30,000.
"It is a numbers thing, with not enough open class horses around, so we might have to head to the paddock," he says.
His timing couldn't have been worse, with the Taylor Mile and Messenger at Alexandra Park reverting to being four-year-old only races when they would would have been ideal targets had five-year-olds still been eligible.
"But if he goes to the paddock he is going there sound and the New Zealand Cup will be his aim.
"It has always been the race I wanted to win and I think I have the horse to do it."
Locharburn was expertly driven by Dexter Dunn, who worked to the lead early and then made Smolda work from the parked position, the margin a half neck at the line in Christchurch.