One of New Zealand's best milers is going to have to put in a longer shift at Trentham tomorrow but trainer Roger James thinks Hypnos is up to the task.
Last season's Couplands Mile winner steps up to 2100m, the longest race of his career, in the $80,000 Trentham Stakes after James and training partner Robert Wellwood started to run out of suitable options for the six-year-old.
"He is just not quite a true weight-for-age horse and we have always wanted to step him back up in distance," says James.
"With the set weights and penalty conditions it looks a good opportunity as he only gets 57kgs."
Hypnos has been consistent racing in the 1400-1600m range for much of the last two years but ran second to Beauden in the 2000m Canterbury Gold Cup last April before a Melbourne campaign where he ran third over 2000m at Flemington.
He has opened the $4.50 second favourite for Saturday's 2100m and his chances could ultimately depend on the tempo, with a hard staying test probably suiting Sherwood Forest better while a more relaxed tempo would suit Hypnos and a naturally fast mare like House Of Cartier, although she might ultimately appreciate rain, which looks unlikely.
Track staff have been putting plenty of water on the Trentham track though, keeping it a dead 5 all week to ensure no repeat of the debacle last December when the Captain Cook meeting was called off after one race because rain turned a hard track slippery.
James and Wellwood also take promising juvenile Charmario to a winnable Wellesley Stakes at Trentham after he chased home Te Akau flyers Grace N Grey and Dynastic on debut at Ellerslie.
On the summer tracks so much of training juveniles is keeping them sound and James says Charmario has no issues yet and believes Saturday's 1100m on the big track will suit him.
"He is a long strider and this looks the right track and a good race for him so he will race well."
Charmario meets an impressive debut winner in Zaher, who beat a subsequent huge winner in Lord Cosmos at Ōtaki in November.
James also warns punters to watch out for Roccia (R7, No 10) when she resumes at Tauranga today.
"She is a smart mare we think a bit of and she will race boldly, albeit from a bad draw."
The stable's two Group 1 mares Two Illicit and Concert Hall will both be late entries for the Group 1 Thorndon Mile at Trentham.