Steve Telfer talks to Ben Butcher. The two have formed a good partnership so far this season. Photo: Trish Dunell.
The first big acid test of Triple Eight’s career arrives at Alexandra Park on Friday night and he has the backing of his trainer to rise to the occasion.
Steve Telfer believes the unbeaten gelding is ready to take on Group 1 performers in a small, but select, $25,000 Northern 3YO Stakes.
“His work on Monday was very good.
“I’m not sure where he sits amongst the good ones, but we are about to find out.
“The small field helps him as, at this stage, he is not a ‘get-up-and-go’ horse out of the gate just yet.
“He will settle pretty close to the speed and be right there.”
Triple Eight has been smashing the clock in his three wins to date, running sectionals only good horses can.
But his four opponents this week – Ashley Locaz, All U Need Is Faith, Alta Maestro and Recco Lover – are all high-speed horses with Group 1 form and will provide a sterner test.
Telfer, second on the national trainers’ premiership with 24 winners and in sublime form, is quietly confident and labelled him the best of his 10 chances on the night.
Stablemate Dance Time, who was a late scratching last week after getting tangled in his gear as the mobile scored up, has been scratched from the same race.
“I worked him today to see if he was ready, but he was just not quite there to go against that field; he did a bit too well in a grassy paddock over the weekend.”
The stable has three mares in the $30,000 Group 3 Northern Breeders Stakes, headed by star mare Better B Amazed.
She was a late withdrawal from her Addington targets over cup week last month and was sent home to freshen up after her bloodwork came back ‘out’.
She is arguably the best horse in the race, matching motors with the best pacers in the North through the spring, but has drawn the outside of the second row.
“She’s come up well from her freshen up and I am very happy with where she is at.
“We gave her a quiet trial last weekend and David (Butcher) said she felt strong.”
Rocknroll Princess was excellent at her last start, running a brave second behind the brilliant Star Galleria.
She’s a tough horse - an equine street fighter - and will be driven accordingly this week.
“She’s heading in the right direction but from the second line will have to make her own luck.
“We’re going to have to make it a true staying test for her as she can’t sprint with them.
“So, Ben (Butcher) will put her in the race and make sure they’re not dawdling along.”
Valor Lustre is also there for the stable, but has drawn the inside of the second line behind a slow beginner in American Empress.
“She’s got good gate speed and could have taken care of herself with a front-line draw.
“She’s working well after a freshener and, while the draw makes it hard this week, don’t count her out in coming weeks.”
Telfer lines up six other runners on the night; three each on two sperate races.
Hunter Bromac, Happy Magic and Ardent Lustre tackle a mobile 2200-metre race that is headlined by the classy filly Baquero.
“I am pretty confident with Ardent Lustre this week; he has great gate speed and should be able to get to the front.
“He’s working well and will be hard to beat, those it’s hard to know what M T Pockets will do.
“If they drive him like they did last time, they might attack and set it up for Baquero.”
Rounding out the team are Rhythm N Blues, Delightful Zen and Ideal Roman, who take on classy All Stars three-year-old The Devils Own and last week’s ultra-impressive winner, Mongolian Storm.
- NZ Harness News