Trainer Pam Gerard says choosing how to split their stable 3-year-olds between black-type races this week was as much about the future as the present.
But that shouldn't put punters off taking an each-way chance on Run For Cover in the $70,000 Wellington Stakes at Otaki tomorrow.
Gerard is in partnership with Mike Moroney for the New Zealand arm of his transtasman stable and as usual they have some promising 3-year-old firepower to play with.
Three last-start winners will line up for the stable in two black-type races over the next three days and Gerard says for Run For Cover and Grip, who contests the Trevor Eagle Memorial at Ellerslie on Saturday, the different races pan out perfectly.
"Grip is our Derby horse at this stage," says Gerard.
"So with that as his long-term goal we want to give as many starts around Ellerslie as possible."
Grip looked a Derby contender swooping to win over 1600m at Pukekohe last start but drops back in distance for Saturday's listed race.
The stable also has filly Fleetwood Maca in the Eagle Memorial and she was also an impressive last-start winner. Her main aim is an upcoming 1600m fillies event at Awapuni.
Run For Cover made the long trek to Otaki today along with the stable's classy debutant juvenile Dragon Biscuit, who has opened favourite for tomorrow's 2-year-old race.
"We thought we might sneak Dragon Biscuit down there to get some slightly easier money to qualify for the Karaka Million but it looks like a few others had the same idea so it is a good field," says Gerard.
Dragon Biscuit beat a race rival in Imperatriz in his trial, as well as Tony Pike's talented American Pharoah colt Khufu, who makes his debut at Ellerslie on Saturday.
So tomorrow and on Saturday we could see some new contenders emerge for the Karaka Million at Ellerslie on January 23.
Gerard says any easing on the track at Otaki shouldn't bother Run For Cover (R8, No 4) but she does have one wish for the last-start winning son of Burgundy.
"We think he is a pretty good 3-year-old but he is a long-striding horse who wants to get into a rhythm with no stop-start," explains Gerard.
The Group 3 race provides particularly the fillies a great shot at early season black-type, especially favourite Key, who was an expensive daughter of Exceed And Excel so could seal her broodmare career with even a top-three placing on her home track.