Carl Henderson has a Group1 plan locked in for his stable star Jodelin Gal and a trip to the Central Districts earlier this month successfully ticked off a step along the way.
The Te Awamutu-based trainer trekked south to Hawke's Bay with the talented Swiss Ace 5-year-old and the scouting mission had a perfect outcome with the mare claiming top honours in an open 1400m handicap.
Henderson has circled a return trip for the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) on September 10 as the ideal early spring assignment for Jodelin Gal.
"The long-range plan is the Tarzino because she will be fit and hard and some of the other ones might be a bit vulnerable," Henderson said.
"I don't know what will be about this year, there's no Melody Belle or Avantage, so if we can sneak a place in the Tarzino, then Group 1 form on her pedigree page would be great. That's our main aim, all going well.
"That was the reason we went to Hastings the other day, as she had never been too far from home before.
"It was only a day trip, but it was a fair old float trip and it was perfect, so I'm happy where we're at."
In the meantime, Henderson will run Jodelin Girl in Saturday's Listed Tauranga Classic Sprinters' Winter Championship Final (1400m).
"She'll head to Tauranga and she has come through her last run huge, she was better after the race than before it.
"I'm quite excited about the weekend, to be honest. She's going to drop a couple of kilos, she had 59.5kg the other week, so the conditions of the race suit.
"The trip away to Hastings and the run under her belt has improved her."
Henderson won't overtax Jodelin Girl, who has won six of her 15 starts, on her way to her Group 1 target.
"I might send her into the Tarzino a little bit fresh. The Foxbridge Plate [Group 2, 1200m] is the normal lead-up race but she doesn't go any good at Te Rapa," he said.
"I'd be reluctant to go there, she just doesn't like the place for some reason.
"She is entered for a $60,000 race at Ruakaka in July. But she would get quite a bit of weight and it's not a black-type race, so there's really no point in going there. It all revolves around stakes racing for her now."
Meanwhile, Henderson is hoping a promising trialist can provide a winning lead at Pukekohe today for Jodelin Gal to follow up on.
Telperion 2-year-old Belthil will make his first appearance in the Pearl Series Race (1200m) after success in his last trial outing on a good3 track at Taupo.
"I've got 2000 Guineas [Group1, 1600m] aspirations with him. Obviously on wet ground, any horse can fall in a bit of a heap when you let their heads go, but his work has been great," Henderson said.
"He has been working with Jodelin Gal and going as well as her, so that's pretty good. I think he's a winning chance if he does everything right. He might lack a bit of ring craft but he's a pretty good galloper."
Belthil was originally purchased out of Alexia Fraser Bloodstock's draft at the Magic Millions National Yearling Sale for A$30,000 before he was offered by Leanach Lodge at Karaka.
"Bloodstock agent Taui Johnson had bought him in Australia and he didn't make his reserve at the Ready to Run Sale, so he got a group of guys together to race him," Henderson said.
"He's a nice, big, strong horse who has always showed ability. He can just do a few dumb things on the spur of the moment but it wouldn't surprise me if he won."
- NZ Racing Desk