Trainer Michael Pitman says there is an unheralded reason Trentham has become a gold mine for so many South Island horses.
Pitman and son Matthew will work their horses at Riccarton tomorrow morning before putting them on a transporter to Picton for the 2pm ferry sailing to Wellington, arriving at Trentham tomorrow night before taking on the North Island gallopers on Saturday.
Any trip with that many moving parts can go wrong, as it did last year.
"One trip last year we got stuck in Blenheim for two days with Enzo's Lad, so it can be tricky," says Pitman.
"But we love going there. We have won two Telegraphs with this horse [Enzo's Lad], the Oaks and a couple of times we have won the trainers prize for most points accrued over the three days.
"So we take a lot of pride in our results up there."
While South Island horses are often seen as inferior to the best of the northerners, their record in the Telegraph in recent years has been outstanding and Enzo's Lad went within a long neck of becoming a NZ sprinting legend last season when, after winning the previous two, he was beaten by Avantage.
One of the reasons for the southern success at Trentham may be the reluctance of some northern trainers to make the road trip to Wellington on the back of a busy Ellerslie carnival and a week out from the Karaka Million, while these days many of the superstars of the north, such as Probabeel, barely race in New Zealand so that levels the field, too.
But Pitman says there is another reason.
"I think we get very good lead-up racing to this carnival," he explains. "Heading into, say New Zealand Cup week at Riccarton, it can be hard to get good, consistent racing into horses down here but we have a lot of racing over summer that means they are very fit when they get to Trentham."
The southerner sprinters are also more used to the hard-out 1000m and 1200m dogleg races down the straight at Trentham, which mirrors what they do so often at Riccarton. There are four in the Telegraph on Saturday.
Should Enzo's Lad win his third Telegraph on Saturday his page in New Zealand racing history books will be written in bold ink as there are few things, after a Triple Crown, racing historians love more than a threepeat.
He meets a similar field to last season, with Avantage again the favourite, third-placegetter Spring Heat also back and the big addition of Central Districts cult hero Tavi Mac.
"We know Avantage will be hard to beat because she is the class horse of the field," says Pitman.
"Tavi Mac is also very good but whether or not he is a Group 1 1200m horse we will find out.
"But we know our horse is. His last-start run at Kurow was every bit as good if not better than his other lead-up runs to this race and I think he can win it, I really do."
Enzo's Lad, who once represented New Zealand at Royal Ascot, has won his two previous Telegraphs and a Lightning at Trentham by settling handy and refusing to stop.
"I can see that happening again this week. He should be handy and maybe even trailing a horse like Wekaforce. If he does that he gets his chance again and he has shown what he can do, on this track under these circumstances."
The TAB has opened Enzo's Lad an $11 chance to win his third Telegraph, with Avantage the $1.65 favourite to win her second. She starts from barrier 10, similar to last season.
Her stablemate Brando is $1.75 for Saturday's Group 1 Levin Classic after drawing ideally at barrier five.