Christchurch trainer Neill Ridley will get a tangible assessment of his chances for two of New Zealand Cup week's major prizes when he produces He Kin Fly and Far Site at Riccarton on Saturday.
Both horses have pleased Ridley in the leadup to their weekend assignments but their race performances will provide the best guide to their Group race prospects next month.
Darci Brahma seven-year-old gelding He Kin Fly will tackle Saturday's Coupland's Bakeries Mile Trial (1400m) as a stepping stone towards the Gr.2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton on November 13, while Makfi filly Far Site contests the Inglewood Stud Guineas Trial (1400m) as a potential precursor to the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 16.
He Kin Fly was no match for Melody Belle when he finished 12th resuming in the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings in August but back home he hit the line nicely after an interrupted run in the straight for fifth in the open sprint at Riccarton on September 21, just 1-1/2 lengths from winner Prince Oz.
"His last run was good. He's trained on nicely and I'm quite happy with him," Ridley said.
"He's well and he's going to get the sting out of the track which helps. The hard tracks aren't good for his old joints. But he doesn't take much to keep fit.
"He'll run here and probably run in the open mile at Ashburton in a couple of weeks' time to find out whether he'll run out a strong 1600m for the Coupland's Mile. It might be a bit far for him but time will tell. We'll give him his chance."
He Kin Fly, a $31 quote for the Coupland's Bakeries Mile, has only twice run past 1400m previously for second and sixth placings at 1600m in the lower grades.
TAB bookmakers opened him as a $4 second favourite for Saturday's race behind Kiwi Ida, who has firmed to $3.20.
Far Site, currently at $19 with TAB bookmakers for Saturday’s Guineas Trial and at $81 for the 1000 Guineas, impressed with a trial win at Rangiora last week and she was a first-up winner at Ashburton in July.
"She's on trial for the Guineas and she's got to get things right at the start. She's got some ability but she'll have to be running on," Ridley said.
Ridley will also produce Hibachi, Raff Race, Highly Xcited, Dreamtesta and Mamba at Riccarton and was optimistic of a bold run from Dreamtesta.
"She's drawn a marble and she's going well," he said. - NZ Racing Desk