Iain Hyndman's Awapuni Tips
1: Gargarin, Who Can Tell, Des De Jeu
2: Mesmerize, Blazing Opal, Don'tbreakmyheart
3: Max, St Ransom, Iffitell
4: Trisha Lea, Hamiltonian, Zartan
5: Wise Men Say, Tizza Secret, Thenamesbond
6: Manhattan Street, Tabard, Magicella
7: Rosewood, Ringo, Platinum Command
8: Vee Twelve, Dark Princess, Maunu Kea
Best Bet: Rosewood (R7)
Whanganui conditioner Raymond Connors has put a line through the performance of Wise Men Say last week and will press on toward his end goal.
Connors, who races the horse with father Mark, has put the run for last in the rescheduled running of the Irvines McGregor Grant Steeplechase down to the Trentham track.
The firmer ground in the middle that makes up the bulk of the figure eight course and the shorter 4000m trip were possible factors.
"It's really the only thing I can put it down to," Connors said.
"They went at a reasonable clip and he was never really in it. He did plough through one fence, but pulled up well and there was nothing wrong with him."
There will be no firm sections to contend with when Wise Men Say backs up in the L J Hooker Manawatu Steeplechase over 4200m at Awapuni on Saturday.
"The extra distance and the heavy track will suit him down to the ground. They won't be sprinting up that straight on Saturday," Connors said.
He has no concerns about fitness levels and is also pleased with the condition of his talented stablemate Max who lines up in the Manawatu ITM Awapuni Hurdle over 2900m.
The winner of his last two, ironically over the steeplechase fences including last start victory in the Waikato Steeplechase at Te Rapa, Max is primed for a return to the smaller fences where he has also tasted victory.
"He won't mind the heavy track either and I'm happy with the way he has progressed since Waikato."
Connors has set his sights firmly on defending his Great Northern Steeplechase title with Wise Men Say, but his still undecided about the direction Max will take.
"I'll go to Hawke's Bay and see what happens. Max may be a bit suspect at the longer trips. I might still head north, but could just as easily head to the Grand National at Riccarton," Connors said.