Most trainers dream of having a runner in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) and that dream could become a reality for Waverley trainer Bill Thurlow this season with Group 1 stayer Glory Days.
The Auckland Cup (3200m) winner and Sydney Cup (3200m) placegetter will kick off her campaign towards the Melbourne feature in the Vets On Riverbank (1400m) at Otaki today.
The track is rated a Heavy11, with further rain forecast for today, and Thurlow said they are far from ideal conditions to begin her spring preparation.
"It is not ideal, but the plan that we have and what we want to do, it's very difficult. You have got to start somewhere. It's either we go there or we don't and then where do we go?
"We have to live with it unfortunately. As long as it doesn't take too much out of her, that's our only concern."
Despite the track conditions, Thurlow is pleased with his stable star heading into today where she has been lumbered with 61.5kg.
"She pleased us with her trial at Foxton last month and she has gone well in a couple of exhibition gallops," Thurlow said.
"We are really happy with her and she is right where we need her to be, I think. We elected to carry the weight and put on a jockey that knows her and Rosie [Myers] knows her really well.
"I wouldn't be expecting her to win. She will get back and if she is running on well at the end we will be pleased."
Today's race will be Glory Days' sole run in New Zealand before she heads across the Tasman to continue her spring preparation.
"Her next start will definitely be in Melbourne, she won't run again here," Thurlow said.
"She will have a nice 10 days at home after Saturday and then she will make her way over there.
"Her next run will be in the middle of September, so it will be four weeks between runs, but that is not a concern to us with her.
"She will probably run in a 1700m race at Flemington at this stage. There is an option to go to a mile at Moonee Valley the week before, so we will just assess how she comes through this race."
While Thurlow hasn't set a path to the Melbourne Cup in stone as yet, a potential tilt at the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) remains on the cards.
"I'm not 100 per cent sure yet, but there are couple of options at the end of next month," he said.
"It may be the Ansett Classic [Listed, 2400m] or Benalla [Gold] Cup [2046m] and then we will probably go to the Herbert Power [Group 2, 2400m] and then we will make our mind up after that whether it's going to be the Caulfield Cup or just another run somewhere."
- NZ Racing Desk