Cambridge trainer Mark Forbes is looking forward to taking a small team down to New Plymouth Raceway on Saturday where he believes the heavy track conditions will suit his runners.
Tavistock mare Heliberry will line-up in the Sandfords Rural Carriers SC Maiden 1400 and Forbes is hoping the addition of side winkers will help settle the four-year-old on Saturday.
She showed plenty of ability when winning her last start at Tauranga comfortably by 3-1/2 lengths despite running out in the closing stages to finish towards the outside fence.
“It was a nice win and back to Taranaki where she has raced well before,” Forbes said.
“She was just in front by herself at Tauranga and there were no challengers and she was just gawking around and was green, that’s why the side winkers are back on.”
While Forbes believes 1600m is her pet distance, he has elected to drop back to 1400m on Saturday because of the lack of options available to her.
“She probably does want a mile, but unfortunately there aren’t many (rating) 65 miles around, that is why we have elected to drop her back to the 1400m and stick in (special conditions) maiden grade,” he said.
“She relishes the wet tracks and by the looks of the weather forecast it is definitely going to suit her on Saturday.”
TAB bookmakers have set Heliberry as a $5 third favourtie in Saturday’s contest behind fellow last start winners Beckidboo ($3.60) and Cheeky Azz ($4).
Forbes’ other runner at New Plymouth, Alvins Dream, will contest the Coastal Agri Services/ Delaval 1800.
The five-year-old son of Iffraaj has been in good form over winter, finishing runner-up over a mile at New Plymouth in June before going one better at Te Aroha earlier this month.
He pleased Forbes in both runs and he has put the gelding’s improvement down to his recent education over fences.
“He is going to be a jumper eventually,” he said. “It has just come up a bit quick for him this year.
“Shaun Phelan has done a lot of work with him over the last six months. He is going to be an exciting jumper, but that probably won’t come until next year.
“The jumping has seemed to put a bit of speed back into his legs. He has definitely strengthened and the jumping seems to have turned his form around more than anything.”
Alvins Dream has been favoured by the TAB, marked as a $6 favourite for Saturday’s race ahead of the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Beau Jeu at $6.50
While Forbes is enjoying working his small racing team over winter, things are set to ramp up over the next few months as he prepares his draft for the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs Sale at Karaka in November.
“They won’t come in until the first of August, we will take 14 or 15 to Karaka, with four going to Australia,” he said.
“We only have a handful of racing horses. We have a nice Dubawi filly (Arabian Gift) having her first start at Te Rapa on Saturday.
“We are more into the trial them up and sell them to Hong Kong until hopefully the stakes improve and we can keep a few more.”