Steven Cole is hoping to kill two birds with one stone when he heads to Trentham on Saturday with Hard Attack.
The two-year-old daughter of All Too Hard will be attempting to gain some valuable black-type in the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m), with the $175,000 purse almost assuring her a place in next month’s TAB Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) at Ellerslie if successful.
A $100,000 purchase by Cole out of Westbury Stud’s New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft earlier this year, Hard Attack was runner-up by a nose on debut at Wanganui in September and readied for Saturday’s assignment with a 900m trial at Taupo last month.
“She was quite a strong filly (as a yearling) and she looked quite precocious. My wife picked her out originally and then we had a second look at her and really took to her,” Cole said.
“It was a nice run first time to the races in September and she then had a nice spell and has come back well and had a quiet trial at Taupo the other week and came through it really well.
“It would be great to get some black-type on Saturday, which would pretty much assure a spot in the Karaka Million, which is also a big goal.”
Cole is eyeing another black-type target prior to the Karaka Million, with Hard Attack potentially set to head to Pukekohe on New Year’s Day to target the Gr.2 Eclipse Stakes (1200m).
“If she went well enough, we will either go to Boxing Day or New Year’s Day and she would have the one run into Ellerslie,” he said.
Cole is excited about a return to racing at Ellerslie and will get his first taste of the new surface next week.
“I have a couple going there to the trials on Monday, so that is quite exciting. I think everyone is looking forward to it being back up and running from all the reports everyone is getting.”
Cole will also make the trek to Trentham with Mega Mogul, who will contest the Stella Artois 1500m Championship Qualifying Race (1600m).
“Hopefully if he can go a nice race down there he can qualify for the Stella Artois. He has come through his first run well and the step up to a mile will really suit him,” he said.
On Thursday, Cole will have a two-pronged attack at New Plymouth, with Let It Begin lining up in the Taranaki Associated Cleaners 3YO (1100m), while Matetsi will tackle the Return To Earth Maiden (1400m) fresh-up.
“Let It Begin went a nice race at Ruakaka behind Glamour Tycoon, who won a stakes race on the weekend, so the form looks really good there,” he said.
“Matetsi trialled up quite well, so I would expect a nice run fresh-up from him.”
Cole will round out the week at Rotorua on Sunday where he will be represented by There Goes My Hero in the Rating 65 1230m event.
“There Goes My Hero ran fresh-up at Pukekohe the other day, so I would expect sharp improvement from him,” Cole said.