Tony Pike is doing his best to lock in programmes for his impressive array of 3-year-old talent, but conditions out of his control aren't making planning easy.

"It's a nightmare at the moment with the weather and to be fair it's the same for everybody," the Cambridge trainer said.

"It's certainly playing its part, but at this stage Felton Road will definitely go to Ruakaka on Saturday and possibly Aim Smart."

The race Pike has his eye on is the Group 3 Tavistock Northland Breeders' Stakes.


Felton Road was successful when resuming at Te Rapa in August to take his record to three wins from five appearances while Aim Smart beat the subsequent Group 1 winner Summer Passage on debut last season.

He was then turned out after an unplaced run in the Listed Reid & Harrison Slipper.

"We haven't been able to get a barrier trial into him and he's a big-actioned horse who needs a better track," Pike said.

Meanwhile, the unbeaten Bostonian has come through his Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy victory in good style and will return to Hastings for the Group 2 Sacred Falls Hawke's Bay Guineas on October 7.

"He's not very big, he's plain but he is genuine," Pike said.

Sacred Rebel was beaten by the slow ground in the El Roca, his first outing since his first-up win in June.

"He slipped out of the gates and got a lot further back than we thought as a result," Pike said.

"He needs better ground so he could possibly run at Ellerslie on September 30, depending on the weather."

Last season's Listed Great Northern Foal Stakes winner Haussmann is yet another 3-year-old on hold until the tracks improve.

"He's not far away and he could have a quiet run along at Avondale on Thursday," Pike said. "Again, it's all weather dependent with him."

While Pike has a huge hand in the upcoming races for 3-year-olds, Taranaki trainer John Wheeler is looking forward to a rematch with the likes of Bostonian with his capable 3-year-old Irish Flame.

The showy Zed gelding caught the eye at Hastings last time out when he flashed home late to finish a somewhat unlucky third behind Bostonian and I Got You.

A Group 3 Phoenix Park Classic winner in his 2-year-old campaign, Irish Flame was having his first run in a preparation that has Wheeler eyeing a tilt at the Al Basti Equiworld 2000 Guineas later in the year.

"We thought he would go well on Saturday, even though it was a quality line-up for the first real 3-year-old feature of the season," Wheeler said.

"He may have just come to the end of it in the last few strides, but I put that down to the work he had to do to get himself into contention as he was a fair way off them when they turned for home. All in all, it was a top run and will clean him up nicely for what lies ahead."

The immediate target is the Sacred Falls Hawke's Bay Guineas on 7 October, a race where Irish Flame is likely to meet a similar field to last weekend.

"His longer-term aim for this campaign is the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton so that is where we will be heading once we get through the Hastings run."

- Racing Desk