Bevan Wilson is treading carefully ahead of Lord Darci's biggest test to date in Sunday's Crombie And Price Oamaru Cup (1600m).
The Ashburton trainer will assess the Darci Brahma four-year-old's performance at Oamaru with a view to a possible late nomination for the Gr.3 Winning Edge Presentations Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on August 6.
But a combination of factors has told Wilson not to get too far ahead of himself with that target.
"It's all a bit of a wait-and-see scenario but if you don't have a go, you don't get anywhere either," said Wilson, who, along with his wife Robyn, bred, owns and trains Lord Darci.
"This is a good chance to test him out and see where he's placed as far as having a look at the Winter Cup goes. We don't really know about him on a really heavy track but he gets into this one with a light weight so it's the right time to try."
Lord Darci, who carries the limit 54kg on Sunday, has won three of his 11 starts, following a Riccarton Rating 65 win with a tenacious win over Sea Shepherd, Chokito and Wild Rover in a three- and four-year-old race at Ashburton.
"He's come through that last run very well. It was a bit of a worry putting him over a mile in his first run in two months but he fought really hard," Wilson said.
"I couldn't say he's come on too much with the run because we've had pretty ordinary weather here since then and we've just been surviving with his work. Just getting him worked has been hard enough.
"We've happy enough with him though. We think he's done enough, knowing that he doesn't need a lot of work. He's quite light-framed still. His dam Madam Victoria didn't really grow out too much herself. She was a nice three-year-old but never came on too much after that.
"He'll probably need a decent spell shortly but I just wanted to throw him in the deep end a bit now and we'll learn a bit more."
Madam Victoria won three stakes races in her three-year-old season and retired after her Listed Timaru Stakes (1400m) win at Ashburton as a four-year-old. Her other raced foal is last-start Ashburton winner Victor Rouge.
The Wilsons are hoping Lord Darci can emulate Madam Victoria with stakes success but won't pay the late entry fee for the Winter Cup unless he can convince them to with a bold performance at Oamaru.
"Green Luck has pushed all the weights down so he's on the same weight as horses who have won more races and more prizemoney than him so it won't be an easy assignment for him," Wilson said.
"We just have to make the right decision for the horse but sometimes you just have to have a go when you can too. He's definitely very bright."
-NZ Racing Desk