While he failed to win a race in his three-year-old campaign, trainer Johno Benner is excited about the future prospects for promising stayer Titled.
The rangy son of Exceed And Excel remains a maiden after twelve starts but has been placed on eight occasions including finishing third in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m) two starts ago and on Saturday he made good ground late for his runner-up position behind the impressive Pinarello in the Gr.2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Pukekohe.
Benner and partner Hollie Wynyard will now send the Gary Harding-owned galloper to the spelling paddock confident that they have a potential open class performer on their hands next season.
“He (Titled) will go for a good spell now as he has had a pretty big season for a three-year-old,” Benner said.
“He really is a big, dumb sort who is still learning the game, but the raw potential is clear to see.
“He has put in two huge runs lately against some good company and I have no doubt he can measure up again in his next campaign.
“Opie Bosson rode him on Saturday and was pleased with him. He said he just couldn’t sprint as well as the winner, who is a classy customer, but our guy had the rest of them well covered at the finish,
“I think once he wins a race, he will string them together, as he just needs the penny to drop in that respect.”
Benner was also pleased with the run of stablemate Amusez Moi in the Listed Anzac Mile (1600m) at Awapuni on Sunday, where the five-year-old closed off nicely from well back in the running to finish just behind the placegetters.
“Amusez Moi is a good horse who is really looking for some rain at the moment,” he said.
“The track was a little too good for him on Sunday and when he got so far back, he wasn’t a winning prospect after that.
“When they race on that inside bend at Awapuni it pretty much rules out the chances of the back runners and that was obvious in his race as the first three around the corner were the first three home.
“He has a nice win in him as soon as the tracks start to get a little deeper and he will get his chance in the coming weeks.”
Benner is also looking forward to having former good three-year-old Invisible Spirit back in commission, as he kicks off his winter campaign at Hawera on Wednesday.
“Invisible Spirit is another of ours that is well suited on the winter tracks,” he said.
“While he has already won three races, he was still a long way from maturity so we put him aside for a good long break and have been working him along over the last couple of months to get him ready for the winter.
“He has furnished well, has strengthened up and is looking a million dollars at the moment.
“He is going to kick off in a rating 74 1400m on Wednesday and he looks to be in a winnable race.
“If all things go to plan, I think he could be our Winter Cup (Gr.3, 1600m) horse at Riccarton in August, so we are looking forward to kicking him off this week and then working out a plan to get him there if we can.”
Out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Invisible Coin, Invisible Spirit is the older half-brother to the David Van Dyke-trained three-year-old filly Gypsy Goddess who won her first five races in succession before tackling the best three-year-old fillies in Sydney where she finished third in the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (1800m) before chasing home El Patroness when runner-up in the Gr.1 ATC Oaks (2400m) at her last start.