Trainer Andrew Carston is hoping to get a gauge on Group Two performer Milford Sound when he lines-up in the Otago Daily Times (2200m) at Wingatui on Friday.
The son of Ocean Park had a rewarding three-year-old season, placing in the Listed Southland Guineas (1600m), Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2000m), and Gr.2 Championship Stakes (2100m).
He failed to fire as a four-year-old in the spring, finishing towards the tail of the field in each of his three stats, and while he has been unplaced in his two starts this time in, Carston has been pleased with his progress and said he will appreciate winter racing.
“He is going okay,” the Riccarton trainer said. “He hasn’t copped a wet track for a fair while and I think he is the most effective on rain-affected going.
“He steps up to 2200m on Friday and there is a little bit of rain around in the forecast too, which is going to help.
“He has got to take on some hard campaigners, so it is going to give us a line as to where we go with him.”
Carston is also looking forward to kicking off the career of juvenile Thats Charming in the Alleviate Administration (1100m).
“Thats Charming is a nice two-year-old,” he said. “We have had a few issues, so he has missed the feature races over the spring and autumn.
“He trialled well the other day so we will give him a trip away and probably tip him out for the spring. He is a really nice horse and he has done nothing wrong.”
Carston will have a two-pronged attack in the Speights (1400m) with Severine and Pullyoursocksup and he said both mares will appreciate the drop back in grade.
“The two mares are dropping back from stakes company. They are both going well and I think it is a really good race for them,” he said.
“Pullyoursocksup’s last win was at Dunedin. I think they are both eachway chances in quite a good field.”
Carston has a large team in on Friday and believes he has a couple of nice chances.
“Russian Fable has been going some really good races, she is getting close to winning a race,” he said.
“I thought Yamuna was unlucky not to have won last start. Island Hop is going well and Where’s Wally is first-up.
“It is good to get back on some grass and it is going to be a nice surface for them.”