Trainer Richard Collett is choosing autumn reality over summer temptation with Super Strike.
That means Saturday's Group 3 Trentham winner won't be asked to take on champion mare Melody Belle in the Thorndon Mile on the same track in two weeks and he isn't the only trainer set to bypass that race, which will see a major market reshaping.
Super Strike's step into the big time proved successful by a nose as he denied Sacred Elixir a fairytale comeback win in the $70,000 Anniversary Handicap.
The win suggests Super Strike can pick up an even more lucrative mile this season or next but his Pukekohe trainer isn't going to throw him in the deep end with the real racing sharks just yet.
Melody Belle headlines the Thorndon on the last day of the Trentham carnival, and with Super Strike having started the weekend as just a rating 81 horse, which will be reassessed tomorrow, Collett isn't keen on the set weights and penalties of the Thorndon.
"He has done enough for this campaign and that is not the race for him," says Collett. "So he can go to the paddock and come back in the autumn and aim at a race at Te Aroha and maybe the Easter.
"He did the job we want him to do on Saturday; he won and he learned some new tricks by having a trip away.
"Those things will stand him in good stead for next season when maybe he could head to good mile or even 2000m races around the country."
Super Strike had to be good to win coming from off the speed on Saturday but it was almost cruel to watch Sacred Elixir go down by such a short margin after years of hard work to get the former juvenile Group 1 winner back to the races after he broke down.
At $10 tonight, Super Strike isn't the only horse well in the market for the Thorndon not heading there, with Callsign Mav and Tavi Mac also certain to miss the Group 1 mile.
"Callsign Mav definitely won't be there and we will head to the BCD Sprint at Te Rapa [on February 13] instead," says trainer John Bary.
With Tavi Mac also to miss the Thorndon, Melody Belle is being gifted a golden opportunity to join racing immortal Sunline as the only New Zealand-trained thoroughbreds to win 13 Group 1 races.
Her biggest — some would say only — threat will be Rock On Wood, whose trainer Leanne Elliot confirmed to the Herald is definitely going to be in the $200,000 race on January 30.
"That is his target and we will consider the Herbie Dyke at Te Rapa after that," says Elliot.
With those two races also the next two targets for Melody Belle, the reality is Rock On Wood and bad luck may be all that really stands between Melody Belle being our most successful ever Group 1 galloper a month from now.
Tavi Mac may be out for season
As a sprint dream ended for trainer Allan Sharrock on Saturday, a staying dream became more likely.
Sharrock had a rollercoaster day at Trentham, winning with Waisake and Our Hail Mary, but Tavi Mac was beaten in the Telegraph and Sinarahma might still be running on in the Anniversary.
Sharrock wasn't making excuses for Tavi Mac after he ran only fifth in Avantage's Telegraph.
"Maybe he just can't run a sub 1m 07s time for 1200m like those elite sprinters," admitted Sharrock.
"He has had enough and I will pull his shoes off now and he can go to the paddock, so he will miss the Thorndon and you might not see him until next season.
"But I might chuck Sinarahma in the Thorndon to try and get her a Group 1 placing."
Sharrock has been setting Waisake for the Wellington Cup on Saturday week and he looked spot on when he smashed a rating 74 staying field on Saturday.
"He won easier than I thought because I haven't totally turned the screws on him yet. So dropping a long way in weight, he has to be hard to beat in the Cup."