Last-start Group Three winner Crown Prosecutor will head into today's Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) in a fresh state, but his trainer Stephen Marsh believes his colt is primed for the Trentham mile.
The son of Medaglia D'Oro won the Gr.3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) at Otaki in November and Marsh said he has been readied for today's contest with two recent exhibition gallops.
"We gave him a freshen-up since that race (Wellington Stakes)," he said. "He's not the biggest, most robust horse. He is quite a clean-winded horse.
"We have certainly done enough with him. I have given him two exhibition gallops, which he has galloped up beautifully.
"He's very well. He's fit and he's ready to go a big race."
Proven over the mile distance, Marsh said his colt would relish the big, roomy track at Trentham, although he believes Crown Prosecutor will be better suited over more distance in time.
"He's a colt and he knows he is a colt. He can be a bit playful, he's not the most straightforward horse, but he has won at the mile," Marsh said.
"The mile really suits and I'm really looking forward to getting him to a big track like Wellington.
"He's going to be better over 2000m-plus, with the Derby in mind, but I think the mile in his fresh state on a big track, it really does look good for him."
After today, Crown Prosecutor will be set on a path towards the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), with the Gr2. Avondale Guineas (2100m) a likely lead-in race. "We'll go to one of the Guineas races, probably the Avondale, but this race was always on the cards. It's a Group One, he's a well-bred colt, and if he could win it adds to his value."
Marsh will also line-up Vernanme in the Levin Classic.
The Kevin Hickman co-bred and owned colt is on a similar path to Crown Prosecutor and Marsh is expecting an improved performance from the son of O'Reilly after his fourth-placing behind race rival Hypnos in the Listed Uncle Remus Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
"I thought it was a really good run (in the Uncle Remus) on a track that didn't really suit, and we are going to get a really good track on Saturday," Marsh said.
"I think he's a pretty high-class colt. He's obviously only won a maiden, but going into this one I am really happy with him. He's a horse that will like the big track like Wellington and the mile suits. But again, he's a horse that is suited over more ground. He's done everything right and is a lovely colt.
"He's the new kid on the block I guess, taking on the likes of Crown Prosecutor and Madison County and a lot of stakes performed horses, but I think he's pretty good. He's a real improving type and I think you will see him run better than what he looks like on paper."
- NZ Racing Desk