Tauranga trainer Mark Blackie is making the long trip north to Ruakaka tomorrow and has high hopes for his 4-year-old Blood Warrior.
After an all-the-way win at his debut at Te Aroha in November the lightly-raced chestnut again convincingly headed the field in the Barfoot and Thompson 1200 at Ellerslie on Queen's Birthday Monday to record his second win from two starts.
The horse has also won three trials. He's likely to start one of the favourites tomorrow when he lines up the nine-horse field in race three.
Ruakaka-trained Mumms Jewel, who has won her last two starts, and Salt Bay, a 4-year-old mare, who has won three times from 15 starts are likely to provide the strongest opposition tomorrow.
Then, what next for Blood Warrior? Blackie is keen to get this weekend out of the way before committing to his next race plan, but feels Blood Warrior has a big future, and hinted at the possibility of a trip across the Tasman.
It has been a good year so far for Blackie, recording five wins this season, after he resumed training a couple of years back.
He had initially trained in the Waikato in the early and late 90s.
Another of his charges, Le Castile, has recorded three wins this season, and then finished fifth in the Group 1 Breeders stakes at Te Aroha in April.
June has been a good month for local trainers, for along with Blackie, Peter Huxtable won at Ellerslie with Come Back Tiger, Anthony Fuller notched up a win at Te Teko with Fastellie, and Jim Pender prepared winners with Porschabelle at Te Awamutu, and Falkirk Lass at Tauranga last Saturday.
Blackie will be looking to add to the local winning record tomorrow.