Te Rapa’s sole resident trainer David Greene is looking forward to racing returning to his home track on Saturday.
While the Hamilton venue has hosted a couple of recent trials, it has been nearly five months since a race meeting has taken place at the track.
Greene will be represented by just the one runner on Saturday, stakes winner Flaunting, who will contest the Super Seth @ Waikato Stud (1400m).
It will be the second run this preparation for the daughter of Showcasing after finishing fourth over 1100m at Counties last month, and Greene believes the step-up to 1400m will suit the filly.
“I thought it was a pretty good first-up run,” Greene said. “She was always going to get back over 1100m and with the track being so holding it was difficult to make up ground. She finished well and it was a solid first run back.
“She bounced through that run well and worked well on Tuesday, so it’s all looking good for Saturday.
“She is not ideally placed being in her own grade and racing what is effectively an open handicap, but being 1400m at Te Rapa on what is likely to be a slow track will suit her more favourably than last time.”
Flaunting, picture Trish Dunell
A stakes-winning juvenile, Flaunting went on to finish runner-up in the Listed Ryder Stakes (1200m) at Otaki earlier this season before finishing fourth in the Listed Soliloquy Stakes (1400m), and Greene said he had a throw at the stumps when taking her south to contest the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), where she finished 14th on the Dead4 surface.
“She wasn’t that far behind some of the better three-year-olds,” Greene said.
“We had a crack at the 1000 Guineas in the hope that we would strike the jackpot on the day that it would rain and we might have been a chance.
“She is not suited to firm tracks, but as long as there is decent cut out of the ground I think she is going to work her way to being a solid open handicapper.”
Greene is currently working a team of a dozen and he was excited to recently welcome back Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) winner Justamaiz to the stable.
“Justamaiz has just come back into the stable and looks a million dollars,” he said. “He should be in for a nice Cups campaign again.
“It was a good day out for everyone when winning the Waikato Cup on our home track and it would be nice to repeat that this coming season.”
One runner that won’t be returning to the barn is seven-win mare Dama Zorro.
“Dama Zorro has been retired and will be in the next sale on gavelhouse.com,” Greene said. “It’s a shame, but she will make a nice broodmare for someone.”
The former Pukekohe trainer bought a property close to the Cambridge training track in January and has developed the bare land with paddocks and a new barn, and he's seeing immediate results.
"The horses have hit the ground running since I've been here. I've had eight horses to the trials in the last few weeks for five wins so it looks like it's been a good move," Wiles said.
Wiles has sold his Waiuku property but has two years before settlement so he is using that property as a spelling base while he puts the finishing polish on his new farm.
He has 40 horses to his name, among them 28 rising two-year-olds as he prepares to make an early splash on the coming season's juvenile races.
"A lot of those 28 are in work ready for the new season. I'd hope to have 10 to 15 up and ready for those early two-year-old races," Wiles said.
He will aim to add to his two-year-old tally this season when he saddles Dalghar colt Flash Warrior in the Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO (1000m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Flash Warrior had two starts in February for a third placing at Te Rapa leading to a Wanganui win.
He won a 700m trial at Ellerslie last month for rider Sam Spratt, who takes the mount at Te Rapa.
"He trialled up really well. I didn't want to do too much with him that day though because we were planning on running him at Pukekohe the next Saturday," Wiles said.
"But then they didn't have a two-year-old race. It's probably worked out better with the break of two weeks and he's drawn perfectly in barrier two so it's unfolding nicely for us.
"He worked outstandingly this (Wednesday) morning and I couldn't be happier with him. From that barrier (2), he'll sit somewhere near the speed though not necessarily in the lead. I expect him to be a first-three chance, given the way he trialled and the way he's worked since."
Wiles said there was good interest in Flash Warrior from Hong Kong bloodstock agents and he was happy to sell the colt.
"I've had a lot of interest in him from Hong Kong and if he wins on Saturday, he's probably sold," Wiles said.
"I own him myself and he's on the market anyway. If that happened, it would help pay off the Cambridge property too."
Wiles' other entry on Saturday is Swagger in the NZB Ready To Run Sale 1400, though barrier 20 has thrown a spanner into the works.
"He's owned by Gerry Harvey so I'll talk to Russell Warwick, his racing manager, and see what he wants to do. He's probably better off running at Te Rapa because the other tracks coming up might be even wetter again," Wiles said.
"He ran at his second last start and won his trial at Ellerslie by 4-1/2 lengths so if he gets a bit of luck, he should be thereabouts."