Riccarton trainer Andrew Carston is leaning to the softer option for promising filly Seven Eleven, an entrant for the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) on her home track in November.
Carston has accepted with Seven Eleven in Wednesday's Celebrating The 50th NZ 2000 Guineas Maiden (1200m) on the Riccarton polytrack and nominated the Proisir filly for Saturday's Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) on the Riccarton turf.
Carston has had a high opinion of Seven Eleven since she joined his stable and is expecting a bold showing for her likely assignment on the synthetic track.
"Go Racing bought her at Karaka and she was always coming to me to train. She had her early education in the north and then came to me for a couple of educational runs at two," Carston said.
"She was always going to be a better three-year-old filly and she's trialled nicely and ran well first-up for the season. She was unlucky in her first run too and she's definitely gone on the right way since.
"She's in the 1000 Guineas and that's the plan at this stage, though there's a fair bit of water to go under the bridge yet. But that's the sort of opinion we have of her."
Carston described Seven Eleven as a big, strong, athletic filly who would only continue to mature through the season.
"She's going to be a lovely autumn three-year-old but we want to give her her chance," Carston said.
"She's likely to run tomorrow and depending on the result, she'll probably head to a three-year-old race from here, most likely the Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m on October 15) at Ashburton, which is a pretty good path to the Guineas.
"The other option is the Guineas Trial (1400m on October 1) at Riccarton. But we want to get through this week first and tomorrow's race looks like a good option to give us a line on how she's going and what we should do next.
"She's a pretty handy filly and she appeared to cope with the synthetic last start. She should get a good run midfield and if she gets room at the top of the straight, I'm confident she'll run really well."
Carston will also run Telperion filly Taimate Rose on debut in the same race, while a third filly from the stable, Mumbo Jumbo is more likely to run in the Cup Week Tickets On Sale Now Maiden (1200m) earlier on the day.
"Taimate Rose trialled nicely enough the other day and she's quite a big filly too that I think will improve towards the autumn and hence why we've gone for the four kilo claim (with Megan Taylor),” he said.
"Mumbo Jumbo is a nice filly. First-up, she drew badly and we went back. This week she's got a better gate so we'll be positive and she's definitely a player."
Carston's other entries for Wednesday's meeting are Show Bazz, Miss Amadi, Sooo Dusty, Bad Flamingo, The Arctic Blast and La Cofradia.
"Show Bazz is going super. He's just a really happy horse this prep and he appears to cope with the poly. This is his best distance and while Belle Of The Ball is the one to beat, he should run well," Carston said.
Carston has nominated Seven Eleven and Shazza for Saturday's Canterbury Belle Stakes but won't make a hurried decision about starting the latter either.
"Shazza could still go there. Her work this morning was pretty good but I would like to see some rain first and there is some forecast."
Another Carston runner on Saturday's card is the Demands Respect, who kicks off a campaign aimed at the Gr.2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton on November 9.
"He's a pretty handy horse for the spring. How far he gets, he'll be telling us but he's coming up really well," Carston said.
Carston's leading contender for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 12 is Charm Spirit gelding Thats Charming.
"I haven't yet decided what I'm going to do with him,” he said.
“Whether I trial him again and go to the Guineas Trial, I'm not sure. He went pretty good first-up in what was quite a strong race. He's a really nice horse. He's just been mentally a little fragile but he's coming to it."