An exhibition gallop between races at Motukarara on Sunday has kept smart Cambridge filly Kali on track for her Group One mission at Riccarton on Saturday week.
Kali worked with the Jamie Richards-trained Folk Dress over 1200m in preparation for their clash in the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), for which Kali is currently the $5 second favourite on the TAB’s Fixed Odds betting behind the unbeaten Travelling Light ($3.20).
“She worked really impressively and pulled up well,” trainer Tony Pike said.
“It was like a barrier trial for her. She sat a half-length off the other horse (Folk Dress) and cruised up on the corner and they finished it off beautifully.”
Kali also currently remains in the nominations for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday, as does stablemate and 1000 Guineas prospect Loire.
“I only left them in there more for the fact if something went wrong with Catalyst and he didn’t get on the plane,” Pike said.
“Kali is a very good filly and she’d be a good chance in the 2000 Guineas if Catalyst didn’t go down. But I’ll be pulling her and Loire out of the 2000 Guineas on Tuesday.”
Kali, a daughter of Darci Brahma, has been beaten just once in four starts, when an unlucky seventh in the Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) at Hastings after scoring a double on the track.
She was then sent south for the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton and bounced back to her best, beating Karalino and Folk Dress.
Leith Innes has ridden Kali in each of her wins, but as contracted rider for Brendan and Jo Lindsay he is committed to Bavella in the 1000 Guineas so the mount on Kali has gone to Troy Harris, who was aboard in her Gold Trail Stakes run and her exhibition gallop.
Pike is also very happy with his two other New Zealand Cup meeting candidates, Sherwood Forest (2000 Guineas) and Sacred Day (Gr.2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile).
Sherwood Forest moved into second favourite ($8) behind Catalyst ($1.15) on the TAB’s Fixed Odds betting for the 2000 Guineas following his decisive last-start win in the Gr.3 War Decree Stakes (1600m) at Riccarton.
“He went down early especially for that race,” Pike said.
“The step up to a mile is perfect for him. He’s a lovely Derby horse for the autumn and the trip away will make him.
“If Catalyst turns up in the same form he’s been showing they won’t beat him, but funny things do happen. Sherwood Forest is a big chance to run second.”
Sherwood Forest has won two of his three starts this campaign after benefitting from three juvenile outings and he headed south with a last-start fifth behind Catalyst in the Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) to his credit.
-NZ Racing Desk