Champion trainer Mark Purdon wasn't getting too carried away with the good or the bad when his superstars returned to the track yesterday.
New Zealand's best pacer Have Faith In Me downed stablemates Lazarus and Smolda in an Ashburton workout, their first public outing on the road to November's New Zealand Cup.
But while the trio were not extended to cruise over their last 800m in 57 seconds, their final 400 in 26.8, the workout wasn't all plain sailing, with Have Faith In Me galloping for the first 50m.
That revives memories of last season when he was iffy at best from standing starts and again sends a warning shot across the bows of punters eyeing the $3.20 quote for him to win the Cup. But Purdon was willing to give his Auckland Cup and Miracle Mile winner a fresh-up pass for yesterday's gallop.
"It wasn't ideal but fresh up that sort of thing can happen fresh," said Purdon.
"It probably confirmed to us he is better off on the unruly, actually standing back behind other horses.
"He was listed as unruly yesterday but with only four in the workout it was all pretty relaxed and he lined up next to the other horses.
"So next week when he goes back to the workouts he will be asked to stand behind them, like he would when unruly in a race."
Have Faith In Me soon recovered from his gallop to work to the front and held out his stablemates even though none of them were asked for their best.
They will all return to the workouts next week for a more serious test, after which Purdon and partner Natalie Ramussen will decide who out of the trio heads to Addington for a September 23 race.
Purdon said the gallop yesterday has no bearing on his eventual decision on whether Have Faith In Me tackles the NZ Cup, the Perth Inter Dominion two weeks later or both. "It is still way too early for that."
TAB bookies took some sort of sign from the workout though, shortening Lazarus from $3.70 to $3.40 for the Cup because of his superior standing start manners.